Amityville, NY emcee Sun B is back on the scene with his latest album, The Features, Starring Sun B. The 15 track compilation is fortified with collaborations from a variety of artists and producers which includes his renowned crew, Betta Than Most.
There is no denying the lyrical and conceptual depth of these artistic individuals. Sun B and Khancept trade potent punch lines on “Emcee”, a track that embodies the true meaning of the word. The song revisits a style of delivery made famous by legends like Run-DMC and EPMD. These two skilled lyricists deliver a volley of lyrical gems and eyebrow raising lines that most Hip-Hop heads would appreciate. The album takes a short detour from Hip-Hop and injects a little Soul/Jazz courtesy of The Liza Colby Sound. Colby and company deliver a spectacular vocal/instrumental performance on the smash single, Sammy. Colby’s silky voice coats the sultry instrumental like plush Lindt chocolate over fresh strawberries. Other stand out tracks on the album are the guitar laden “Beastin” (Sun B & Smokescreen) and the heavy bass “Who Got Next” (B McCoy, Sun B, Smokescreen).
The album follows what I like to call “The Chameleon Syndrome”; where most aspects of the album blend into each other. Out of the 15 tracks listed tracks, five of them are outstanding while the remainder are average at best. The mediocrity is attributed to the lack of diversity in the production and repetitive flow patterns. A large quantity of the production is redundant and feature drum sequences and samples that seem to be recycled throughout the collective. The lyrical talent is definitely present; however, anyone can put words together. The key is putting those words together in a manner which makes the artist and his/her body of work stand out. But all isn’t lost on The Features. The aforementioned tracks in the previous paragraph showcase the great potential that these obviously talented artists can offer to music lovers.
When recording, please keep in mind that delivery is everything. It’s what distinguishes DMX from Jay-Z or Rakim from Kane. IT is what will distinguish Sun B from the droves of emcees trying to break into this industry. Get your production team to diversify the music that is being provided. If that’s not possible, include other producers on your project. Give the consumer something well rounded and try to avoid one-dimensional tracks. The talent of rhyming is there, but should be refined tuned using the correct tools.
The Features, Starring Sun B is an album that was built on good intentions and substantial topics, but lacks a commandingly intense vocal presence. However, there are a few bright spots on the collective that are well worth listening to. Conceptually, it’s a great album, but without the other supporting elements (inflection in the flow, airtight production) is simply takes on the characteristics of the chameleon and blends in with the sea of mixtapes that flood consumers’ inboxes. Adding a little more passion to the vocals and broadening the production scope will make Sun B’s next album a bona fide hit.