M-1 – Confidential

Image Artist: M-1
Album: Confidential
Label: Koch
Rating 3.5/5

I
remember reading something that Talib Kweli wrote a while back. He
spoke on how he does music for himself and not for the fans, because if
he were to only cater to the listening audience then he and his music
would never grow. Sometimes we like what an artist does so much that we
get frustrated when he goes down a different avenue, ala mc/actor
extraordinaire, Mos Def. But we must remember that as the years go by,
artists grow, and their music grows with them. I’m not saying that you
can’t hold on to whatever style you like, shit, I am still stuck in
1994. But like Common said, “It ain’t 94 joe we can’t go back.” Thanks
Com.
M-1
understands what it is to grow. While at times the beats don’t sound
like Dead Prez material, listen to the words. “Confidential” does more
than provide a fresh approach to the DP movement, M-1 uses this
platform to educate listeners about the political struggle going on in
today’s world. After certain tracks he takes the time to discuss
certain topics that have affected political prisoners and currently
affect the youth. He also uses unlikely guest appearances by artists
such as Q-Tip, Styles P, and Ghostface Killah, in an attempt to broaden
his listening audience and spread the word to a different and wider
group of hip hop enthusiasts.
When
you put a silencer on a gun the blast may disappear but the 9mm still
goes bang. M-1’s title track does just that. The hard “Let’s Get Free”
type beats have been defused and a soft, borderline R&B beat was
put in its place. But the words are just as venomous as before. M-1
speaks on the topic of government phone taping and spying in a very low
voice as if not to be heard by the ever-present feds. “’Till We Get
There” featuring K’Naan and Stori James is another laid back song with
a powerful message of unity and hope. M-1 also takes this album to talk
about romance. If you have ever listened to any of Dead Prez’s music in
the past you know that aside from “Mind Sex” you would be hard pressed
to find any romantic material in their catalog. While it is definitely
not his strength, M-1 teams up with Q-Tip and Cassandra Wilson in the
light hearted track, “Love You Can’t Borrow.” Producers Fabrizio Sotti
and Eric “Ibo” Butler lend their creative talents to the track,
providing a different feel and sound that most die hard Dead Prez fans
would probably shun but in the bigger picture will probably gain M-1 a
more diverse fan base.
But
not every track on the album is subtle in its delivery and distant from
Dead Prez’s revolutionary roots. M-1’s comrade Sticman lends his voice
to the standout track “Early”. Relying on revolutionary tactics in
their rhymes, the duo let’s everyone know that they are still on the
grind together and puts to rest any rumor of a breakup over a hard
hitting beat that sets the album off right. Styles P shows the loyal
RBG family who may not listen to groups like the Lox that there are
mc’s on major labels who talk about controversial political topics and
rep the streets and in Styles’ case, he has been a respected artist in
the game for almost 10 years. “Land Bread & Housing” is a creative
composition that focuses on the ideals of the RBG movement and features
M’s momma and Raye. Butter provides what it arguably the deepest beat
on the album while M-Uno reminisces on his past. “ Wonder why we made
“Let’s Get Free” I was investing all I had in my community, buying
black. Cuz my mentality is RBG, not just some colors on a wrist band I
put it like this man…” Even though the album does not show off his
lyrical dexterity, it’s real talk, and something that anyone going
through any sort of struggle can relate to.
The
album is not without its flaws though. “The Beat” and “For You” seem to
be overly produced for the album. But once again M-1 should be
applauded for stepping outside of the typical Dead Prez sound and
trying a different type of sound. Don’t Put Down Your Flag is another
song on the album that seems out of place. While the topic is on point
with the RBG tradition, the vocals add to the awkwardness of the song
and the complete product just doesn’t work.
M-1
goes a step further than many artists today and includes a DVD that
touches a lot of very poignant issues in society and gives M-1 a chance
to connect with his fans through a different medium and includes his
video for “When we get there”. Through these different avenues M-1
really puts together a total package that displays his personality in
ways that were never expressed on wax before while at the same time
representing the people army the way only a member of Dead Prez can.

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