Sunday, June 9, 2013

Erick Arc Elliott - Almost Remembered

There's something uniquely captivating about a person who struggles against all odds to do what they love. We're all drawn to stories of people who live debt-ridden and impoverished for the sake of their dream. There could be many explanations for this phenomenon, this fascination we all have with personal struggle, but I think it comes down to the fact that it's different. For most people, if given the choice between living well under the poverty line (while doing what you love full-time) and being successful, most would be satisfied to have a very important hobby, and choose the latter, giving in to the need to fit in to a society which regards monetary success as the greatest achievement, regardless of your passions and callings.

This brings me to Erick Arc Elliott's third full-length album, Almost Remembered. Now, just think about that title for a minute or so. Very rarely has one title, two simple words, been so profound, so perfectly characteristic of the content it describes. Every time I pick up the CD and read those two simple words, I get filled with a sense of sympathy, equating me immediately with the struggles of being a new artist, the humbling disappointments, the regrets, and everything else that comes with the territory. If this is accomplished by the title alone, the music itself must speak volumes, and I can attest personally that it does, indeed, my friends.

Starting with the cleverly titled "Pimptroduction," the album kicks off on a soft note. The track employs a soulful, endearing production, featuring the ephemeral vocals of Kaya, who is featured on many tracks on the album. Elliot's rapping is skillful and more than competent, with an emotional flow that's far from lazy, and an adept ability to craft clever and poignant rhymes. Lyrically, Elliott proves gifted in portraying these incredibly personal subjects on the album, starting with this first tack, a humbling introduction of a man down on his luck, struggling to get by and living with more than his fair share of regrets, hardships, and vices. One can't help but feel a connection to the artist after this song, as he accounts to you the difficult story of his life and how he got there.

The story continues on the second track, "Almost Remembered," an endearing and immensely personal tale on the struggles of not just being an artist, but on being a person as well, dealing with issues like relationships, money, and music.

One theme on the album that gives it major points is consistency, consistency in story, content, and vibe. This vibe, of course, being the soulful feeling that is portrayed throughout the whole album, keeping with a very organic style seen on the bombastic, Neo-Soul production of "H.N.C.," the beautifully emotive phrasing and vocal execution on "Keys," the romantic and personal lyrics of "Love Ripple," and the use of the Harlem Children's Zone for additional vocals on "Family Matters."

As a rapper and as an artist, Erick Arc Elliott proves that he has more heart and more soul than any Hip-Hop artist has shown in very a long time, with a hefty amount of musical and lyrical skill to boot. This album is not to be missed, a journey through the life of a man whose experiences and struggles represent the trials and tribulations of normal people made a little less normal through the following of their dreams, through the exercise of reaching for their goals and aspirations. Elliott shows on Almost Remembered that even those with problems, regrets, vices, and flaws can become heroes of their own lives.

-Andrew Oliver

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