Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Album Review: 40 Watt Hype Push
"Only the strong survive," vocalist/MC/multi-instrumentalist Aaron Wall sings on the album opener of the same name. While he's talking about life in general, he could also be referencing his status as a white guy maneuvering in the worlds of rap, R&B and Spanish-flavored music.
"Can U Dig" and the bilingual, Latin-style "Tu Bien Sabes" continue the will-to-survive theme with lyrics detailing breakups and baby mama drama. Wall flexes his storytelling muscles on the somber "Echoes," detailing the trials of inner city life with lines like"5 to 1 says you don't make it out the gate/4 to 1 says you don't make past the 12th grade/3 to 1 says you don't make to see 23/2 to 1 says you end up in the penitentiary." The bouncy "Mas y Mas," mines similar territory, criticizes those who "All the freedom but/Don't want the fight."
Musically Wall and his band also hold their own. The album is a melting pot of genres, featuring straight-forward hip hop ("Feel My Music"), mid-tempo R&B/soul jams ("The Messenger, "Wannabe") and Latin tracks "Mas Y Mas" and "Tu Bein Sabes," complete will exotic horn riffs, conga drums and Wall's Spanish flow, which rings with authenticity and respect for Latin music.
"Echoes," with its full, rich backing vocals courtesy of the Grace Gospel Choir, takes on an anthem-like tone. Overall Push is a diverse, fun effort that should leave little doubt about 40 Watt Hype's survival.