Friday, January 28, 2022

Elevated Ruffians – Kingsmen [Album Review]



Elevated Ruffians is a group consisting of Magnificent Ruffians (Specific, Master Chief & DJ Sway Deeze) and Elevated Soul (Ora-KL, Fushuz & Godchild).  Specific and Master Chief provide the rapping, DJ Sway Deeze provides the DJing, and Ora-KL, Fushuz, and Godchild provide the beats.  This group released The Magnificent Soul LP in 2009 and it was met with mostly positive reviews.  I have yet to listen to it, but from what I’ve heard about it, it seems like something that I would like.  Elevated Ruffians may not have a huge following, but they garnered enough attention with their debut album for there to be a solid handful of people who were anticipating the release of this album.  Since I never heard their debut, I wasn’t one of those people, but I decided to give this album a few listens.  To summarize my thoughts, I’m disappointed with this album.  I’ll use the rest of the review to explain why.

First of all, these beats aren’t good.  It seems like just about every sample on this album was taken from a ’60s soul song.  From my experience, it seems that, with the exception of Isaac Hayes, the best soul samples usually come from the ’70s.  As much as I love ’60s soul, the fact that Elevated Soul used all ’60s soul samples, or at least samples that sound like ’60s soul samples, doesn’t bode well for them.  That’s not even what’s bad about these beats, though.  What’s bad about them is how messily and lazily produced they are.  It sounds to me like Elevated Soul just threw together a bunch of random samples, didn’t bother to flip them in a way that sounds good, and didn’t bother to even add drums.  The first time you listen to this album, the first few songs might sound kind of cool because they’re unique, but the more that you listen to it, the more that you realize that these beats are unique in a bad way.  It sounds like minimal effort was put into them and all of the effort that was put into them was focused on mashing together a bunch of decent samples to make an uninteresting, and at times, annoying, mess of an album.  These beats aren’t awful, but I definitely don’t like them.  Whatever sound Elevated Ruffians were going for, it didn’t work.

Second of all, I’m not a fan of the rapping by Specific and Master Chief.  They aren’t bad rappers, but they’re painfully average.  They have choppy, awkward flows that sound quite amateur and their lyrics are basic at best.  It’s impossible for me to take them seriously because practically all that they rap about is how good they are.  I find that ironic and a little bit obnoxious because they aren’t even good rappers.  Even I could have written lyrics twice as good as theirs.  Basically, the only redeemable aspect of their rapping is that they have good voices for hip hop.  Other than that, they’re nothing special at all.

Another flaw with this album is that its overall song quality is very low, meaning that none of these songs are good.  Well, I like “Keep Rolling,” but that’s mainly because it’s the first song, so the messy style of production hasn’t had time to get annoying yet.  All of the other songs range from irritating to decent.  One moment in particular that bothers me is how, on “I Won’t,” Elevated Soul tried to flip a sample from the classic “Stand By Me” and totally screwed it up.  It’s never a good idea to sample a classic like that unless you can do it justice or put it to good use, but they did neither.  They just chopped all of the emotion and soul right out of it.  My least favorite moment of the album, though, is “My Love (Interlude).”  There are vocals in it that are gross and out of place.  I can’t even begin to wrap my head around the train of thought that led to picking that vocal sample.  I’m not going to explain it and if you’ve heard it, you should be able to understand why.  Thank God it’s only a minute long.  With that rant out of the way, I can proceed to tell you that there aren’t any songs good enough to justify listening to this album.  Besides that one, none of them are terrible, but most of them are at least a little bit irritating and there are too many of them, making it a mostly unpleasant listen.

To summarize, the beats are messy and lazy, the rapping is very basic, the lyrics are ironic, it’s too long, there’s only one good song, there are a bunch of songs that are borderline bad, and there’s one interlude that’s awkward and terrible.  Just to clarify, that one interlude is the only thing about this album that’s terrible.  I’ve spent the whole review pointing out all of the negative aspects of this album, but that’s not to say that it’s awful.  That just means that there are a lot of areas that could use improvement and not many redeemable aspects.  It’s a pretty bad album.  Some people are claiming that it’s wack or horrible, but those statements are exaggerations.  Even so, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone unless you have a thing for soul samples being messily mashed together.  As for me, it’s not an appealing album and I can tell you right now that the only song that I’ll keep on my iPod is “Keep Rolling.”

Rating: 2.5/5

The thoughts of this article resonates the authors thoughts, not a general consensus of the website (unless otherwise stated).

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