Saturday, December 25, 2010

Death of a Pop Star

I downloaded Death of a Pop Star today and after my 3rd full listen-through, I must say 9th Wonder and David Banner have come from nowhere with a great closer to a fantastic year in hip-hop. An interesting (if unlikely) duo, 9th Wonder and David Banner synthesize their talents to create a unique and powerful album.

9th comes through with some production that jumps all over the modern hip-hop spectrum. At some points he sounds like 88-Keys (à la The Death of Adam) and at others, Pete Rock (check "Stutter"). It's a mélange of production styles that really highlights the versatility of 9th Wonder as a producer. Of course, he still returns to the crisp flavor you might know from his work with Little Brother (see "Be With You" and "Silly") and a lot of his tracks are heavily sample-based. It makes for a colorful and organic listening experience that keeps you captivated from track one.

As for David Banner, I must say I was pleasantly surprised at his performance. I originally listened to the album only to hear some fresh 9th Wonder tracks, and was pretty skeptical at first of David Banner. I mean the last song I heard by David Banner was "Get Like Me (Stuntin is a Habit)", with Chris Brown, and while the song was a fun radio hit for a little bit, it held little appeal for me. It hardly brought back memories of The Minstrel Show. Yet, this album flipped my perspective quite a bit. David Banner fills the album with creative flow, compelling lyrics as well as a tone that is confessional, cathartic even. It's no 808's & Heartbreak, but David Banner does indeed drive the listener's emotions from start to finish. The album's overall message emphasizes the deterioration of contemporary hip-hop as an art form, and David Banner drops it on us with virtuosity.

Death of a Pop Star leaves me wanting something more from the duo. Let's see how this album grows on me.

Most Notable Track: "Stutter"
Support the Artist: Death of a Pop Star - David Banner & 9th Wonder

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