MC Paul Barman, an interesting New Jersey rapper with less Instagram followers than most of us. However, he could rap circles around all of us. In the underground hip-hop scene of New York is where he resides. So far he’s worked with hip-hop subterranean MF Doom, Prince Paul, Kool Keith, and ultra-percussionist ?uestlove. It’s been nearly 9 years since Thought Balloon Mushroom Cloud dropped, receiving an A- review by famous music critic Robert Christgau. On May 18th, he made his return to the boombox with Echo Chamber. 16 Tracks with a couple features with visibly high expectations. As somewhat of a comeback and a follow up to a great album by the well-versed wordsmith.
An animated high energy poetry read over dope beats, this album. A cleaner delivery to arrange the thoughts of today’s issues. From the intro to outro, MC Paul Barman touches on race, breaks down the 10 commandments, and spits an array of word play with dizzying lyricism. Featuring production from MF Doom, Questlove, and even Mark Ronson created some uptown funk on this album.
Self-titled track “Echo Chamber” brings the ears to the theme of the album. Featuring Chicago’s One Mike Eagle and a bass guitar fading into the background of kicks and claps. An introduction to an album that isn’t wasted but used to set the table of expectations. Something like a reminder that although 9 years has past, MC Paul Barman kept a sharp sword.
“I got inhuman skills for you still to see”
In the Mark Ronson produced track “Happy Holidays”, Paul precipitates lyrics on the downsides and upsides to the Holidays. There’s no hook, no chorus, just impressive off beat bars. In a nutshell, this track is the depiction of Barman’s rap style. Create a sample, add a bit of boom, sprinkle some baps and allow him to run rapid for a minute or so. Spraying words that are infrequently used in today’s mainstream hip-hop culture. An appreciative record for a hip-hop head still collecting vinyl albums.
“And hold the reins to the chariot of the proletariat”
An inveigled track with it’s twinkling snares, classic hip-hop kick drums, and samples. “Meat n Bone” is whirlwind of percussion and the description of human life with the help of Questlove. It’s an in depth look of who we are as people and how we’ve developed along the way. In the final verse, impressively MC Paul Barman breaks down the scientific development of an organism from final form to where it’ll begin. Somewhat of a science project presentation and the only thing missing is an poster board.
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An entertaining album for the fan of lyricism curious to know the limits to rhyming. Playing tracks on repeat will allow the listener to understand the message clearer in each rotation. A pleasurable and political listen to serve as a reminder for us to stay aware and enjoy life while we’re here.
The full track-listing for ‘Echo Chamber’ is as follows…
1. (((echo chamber))) (feat. Open Mike Eagle / prod. ?uestlove)
2. YOUNGMAN speaks on (((race))) (prod. Prince Paul)
3. (((99.99999%))) (prod. MF DOOM)
4. (((believe that))) (feat. Open Mike Eagle / prod. MF DOOM)
5. (((commandments))) (prod. Memory Man)
6. (((age war))) (prod. ?uestlove)
7. (((meat n bone))) (prod. ?uestlove)
8. (((leapfrog))) (prod. Memory Man)
9. (((hairy moth owl 2))) (prod. Memory Man)
10. UNDOING ALONENESS (prod. Kenny Segal)
11. ((((((antennas)))))) (feat. Masta Ace / prod. Memory Man)