The last time I heard 8thW1’s name was on Back For Seconds (2010) and No Room For Dessert (2010) with the outstanding production duo that is 2 Hungry Bros. If you haven’t heard of them, get familiar. Compared to those two projects, Lux Deville, comes not as “a come back/it’s a reintroduction” (“Smoke Break”). We’re greeted by a wiser, funkier/jazzier 8thW1 right from the Intro track who steps to the mic to share the lessons he’s learned so far, employing his grassroots, clever lyricism. And his raps are paired appropriately with lax, wind-down-after-work type production driven by a smooth electric guitar and keyboard that bring me back to the halcyon days of NYC’s Smooth Jazz CD 101.9 FM.
You can witness and learn a lot in three years. Case in point: 8thW1 has dedicated almost half of a 12 track LP to spreading some knowledge. He paints the rap game black and white for the younger generations who blindly follow what other misguided rappers portray-material possessions and violence. 8th takes an indirect jab at Sir Flockaveli in his feel good track of the album, “Happy”: “As for your death threats/talkin’ ’bout your choppers/it only makes me laugh/waka waka waka.” He gets the most political on “Home Sweet Home,” a satirical barb towards the double standard used by the justice system in our country, based on race. It’s not all fair and equal like we learn in high school History but rather, “limited liberty and justice for all unless you become part of the plan.”
The second half of the LP deals with some personal issues 8th has come to terms with over time. He’s come to realize and accept that in essence he’s just a nerd that works a job that pays him less than what he’s worth, but still takes the time to meditate on the ancient wisdom of pharaohs (“Smoke Break”). And for those confused, he clears the air about his personality type that doesn’t fall into a stereotypical category for rappers, by stating that he’s “not emo/nor [is he] Nino” (“Get It Together*”). Most importantly though, he addresses his fans who may not be as satisfied as 8th with the evolution of his sound. He explains to people that instead of criticizing him, they should look at themselves because “maybe you’ve been on the same sh*t for too long” (“It’s Mine”).
8th’s demeanor has settled into that of a cool uncle figure who may have toured with Miles Davis, supposedly smoked the devil’s lettuce with Basquiat, and definitely isn’t trusted by your mother. He’s not so concerned about the lyrical acrobatics as he is educating the listeners and sitting back every once in a while for them to self reflect while a sax or a piano takes a short improvised solo. Lux DeVille is your every man’s Hip-Hop that everyone can relate to and still crack a
beer bottle of wine to.
Lux DeVille will be released in May via Elementality Productions.
*Best line of the album: “On the Father, Son, Holy Ghost, and Tim Tebow/the best collaboration of a white dude and a negro.”
3 / 5 bars
8thW1 – “Get It Together”
8thW1 – “Happy”