If one is ever curious of the music that came out of the tough street punk scene of Philadelphia fifteen years ago, one could put on a Virus record. One seeking some insight to the way of living in the humble streets of Jamaica in the seventies, could put on a Maytals or a Marley record. It is difficult to give these records as much as a vague listen without feeling at least a hint of their lives in your presence. Similarly, if one seeks a record that will give them a somewhat surreal, yet accurate experience of the life in the modern age, one needs to look no further than Strange Journey.
Ignition, an introductory track, is a thirty-second mission briefing, which commences the lyrical journey seeking to try and explore the complexities of the human mind and spirit of today’s world. The beat the drops for the first musical track of the LP, and who better to introduce such an ambitious and surreal lyrical journey than Del the Funky Homosapien? Del and Natti of CunninLynguists do well in setting the stage for the production in the track “Strange Universe”, and they do well in letting the listener know that the journey will in fact be very strange.
The next couple of songs focus on contrasting aspects of urban life, with “In the City” describing the many dark aspects of city life over a spacy and mellow instrumental, while “South California” focuses on the more positive aspects, specifically the beautiful women of Southern California, on a beat similar in vibes to the former, with an added Beatles-esque feel.
The following track “Drunk Dial” is a standout track in the album, a comedic portrayal of a situation that many of us are much too familiar with today, resulting from the combination of alcohol and the cell phone. Guided by Kno of CunninLynguists’ incredibly catchy chorus, the song will have you vibing out to the entire album.
The next few tracks, “The Morning”, “Innerspace”, “Guide You Through the Shadows”, and “Castles” further explore the human soul through varied ways, with strong lyricism focusing on aspects such as sex, age, isolation, and guidance out of dark roads in life, and how all these things play out in and affect one’s life.
“Kings” is the next track and stands out as what might be one of the strongest tracks on the record. The excellent lyrics are presented with excellent delivery, accompanied by a very strong hook by Sheisty Khrist and backed by a beat that manages to stay consistent in musical style, yet create a much larger feel in what might be the climax of the album.
The pace of the record begins to slow down as the end of the record approaches. “Hot”, “The Format”, “Dying Breed”, and “Makes You Wanna Cry” provide a pleasurable listening experience with a more relaxing and smaller feel, assisted by lyrically focusing on the feelings of helplessness commonly present in today’s rapidly changing world, corrupted with violence, religious conflict, technology, etc. “Beyond the Sun” proceeds to add a bit of light to the dark theme of the previous tracks, and is a more hopeful and positive look at the world in which one has the privilege to live in.
The power and the artistry of Strange Journey Volume Three is a breath of fresh air to not only the hip-hop community, but the music community in general. The album is a genuine piece of modern art, as it does an exceptional job in trying to make sense of the senseless and changing world around us, something that is universally strived for across genres and achieved by few. The music of the record are worthy of praise themselves, as one would be able to listen through an instrumental version of the album as easily as the original. Excellent work, and congratulations to the CunninLynguists for their great work!
The album can be streamed at: http://cunninlynguists.bandcamp.com/album/strange-journey-volume-three
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