Artist: One Be Lo
Record label: Subteraneous Records
Reviewer: Alexander Fruchter
One Be Lo, aka OneManArmy, has been consistently supplying Hip Hop Heads with the proper medication. His new album refills the prescription, as R.E.B.I.R.T.H. is Lo's best album to date, and the among the top Hip Hop albums of a young 2008. With a powerful mix of social commentary, and B-Boy sensibility, R.E.B.I.R.T.H, lets those who know, know that Lo is back. For those that never knew, R.E.B.I.R.T.H. serves as an introduction and wake up call for Hip Hop to stop sleeping on the emcee from the Great Lakes State.
"You need a whole posse/some call it cocky/only G-d can stop me/who else rocking these goals?/this ain't hockey/haters want to see me fail/go ahead...watch me," raps Lo on "Rebirth," a Labtech produced/boom bap slapper, which opens the album with a Kung Fu sample. That mindset is carried on throughout, as Lo can easily be described as more focused, more hungry, and wiser after ten plus years in the recording industry.
On "Born & Raised," produced by K Kruz, Lo raps about his hometown of Pontiac, Michigan, a working class city heavily dependent on the now defunct auto industry, which once allowed many Michigan towns to flourish.
The Jake One produced, "Smash" is another stand out track that hits hard, and focuses on survival at all cost. "Like the car I drive, if the record is a smash I could still survive," raps Lo on the songs chorus, which also samples audio from Mr. T. In fact audio samples play a large role in creating the overall tone and feel of the album. Lo utilizes vocal samples from movies and speeches to highlight the social and political issues that he covers in the music.
Such is the case on "War" a track about desperate measures in desperate times, which starts out with a conversation taken from the Harvey Keitel and Richard Pryor flick, "Blue Collar." "Your white," Richard Pryor states. "What the f**k does that mean?" replies Harvey Keitel. "It's means you got more chances than I got. And you're always going to have more chances than me. I got one chance and I'm gonna take."
Lo's chance is now as well. After splitting with Fat Beats, assembling a strong team, and building his own studio, Lo is making the best music of his life. The zone he is currently in is the subject for the album's official closer, "Hip Hop Heaven." It is the perfect ending for the album, and a well-told story with a twist.
R.E.B.I.R.T.H, which stands for Real Emcees Bring Intelligent Rhymes To Hip Hop, is One Be Lo at his best, and will definitely be mentioned at year's end as a top Hip Hop release for 2008.