Ok, so maybe my music playlists on Spotify don’t agree that I’m the right person to be reviewing a hip-hop album. I mean, Jay-Z and Drake are as ‘ghetto’ as I get, so the fact that I thought I’d be the right person to a) be invited to a hip-hop album launch, and b) offer to check out the album and write a review on it, is a mystery to me still.
Last month, I was invited to the launch of rap artist, Mr Clean’s new album ‘With a Vengeance’ and let’s just say I had no idea what to expect. Being more Rihanna than Rick Ross, I don’t really have a great appreciation of the rap scene but I thought an open-mind was the best accessory to bring along with me on the night.
To say I was amazed is an understatement. Mr Clean has a presence about him, as all in the room felt the energy he exuded on stage. A couple of tracks in, he informed us that he had been sick all week and was losing his voice, but this did not stop him from giving it all he had, and more. “Getting a great response from the crowd is really uplifting, it lets you know you’re doing it right, and makes you feel like you want to give even more back.”
I was fortunate to chat with Mr Clean a couple days after the launch and discovered just how tough he’s had it to get to this stage in his career. Husband, father and white-collar by day, lyrical genius and rap God by night. He’s had a keen interest in rapping for most of his life, and it’s only been the last four years that he has dedicated a lot of time (and money) to his passion. “It’s a slog if you don’t have a lot of money to throw into it and being indie means you have no publicist or advertising.”
Describing the album as a whole rather than by each individual track proved to be extremely difficult, for this album isn’t a basic YouTube downloaded beat with lyrics recorded on an iPhone. Production-wise, it has all the elements of a million-dollar production team. ‘With a Vengeance’ is easy-listening yet motivating, perfect for cruising around yet has a beat which will see you running your heart out on a treadmill; it really is a well-rounded album.
My favourite tracks on the album are ‘Diamond Thrust’ and ‘She took the money,’ the second and sixth tracks on the album. It is obvious by these two tracks alone that Mr Clean has an appreciation for making music by incorporating different elements of sound to create a track.
“Don’t get caught up in stereotypes or gimmicks, being relevant is not always the key to getting new fans.” It’s in insights like this that sets apart indie artists like Mr Clean from those just looking to be the next puppet of the entertainment world.
You can access all of Mr Clean’s music at his website at http://www.darealmrclean.com/, and via Bandcamp, iTunes and all other digital formats.