Amari Mar shows the power of conscious rap on the thoughtful, uplifting verses of “Grand Rising”. His ability to seemingly blend his own experience within a historical as well as present context means a sheer poignancy resonates throughout. Raps here are unhurried for he makes sure that the word choice and verses are put on full display. Every single element contains its own story, from the hit of the beat to the carefully laid out samples. Cleverly there is a timelessness with which the productions are treated. Tracks here are kept to the essentials, while the main focus has a hope to it, for the album has a streamlined power to it.
Quite powerful Amari Mar proves to be at the forefront of a resurgence of conscious rap, one that is long overdue. The references go back to the classics, with A Tribe Called Quest’s questioning, analytical qualities reverberating throughout. A playfulness of the sound harkens back to Jurassic 5’s giddy attitude. Some of the old-school approaches comes through particularly on the fantastic scratching of DJ Fadewell, which has a pitch-perfect spirit to it.
Pure triumph reigns supreme on the stately “Grand Rising (Produced by Jadin Shropshire)”. A psychedelic sheen underpins “Holy Sh!t (Produced by Act Won)” where there is a certain spiritual and faith-based recognition to it. The pitch shifts of “Nothing To Prove (Produced by BeatsDaily)” is hip-hop meets Vaporwave, as even the lyrics further emphasize this exploration of consumerism. Easily the highlight rolls on with the symphonic “Black Business Feat. Jadin Shropshire (Produced by Jadin Shropshire)”. Here the lyrics take on the work ethic of the millennial generation, how they have to hustle hard and how financial literacy needs to become a thing. DJ Fadewell’s scratches on “The Truth Featuring Semu U & Fashawn (Produced by Jadin Shropshire)” highlights the sheer reflectiveness of the verses, one that ties the personal and the societal. Volume deserves to be blasted on “Above The Rim (Produced by Jadin Shropshire)”. Things are slowed down on the clever dreamy “Head Up High (Produced by EA)”. On “U.B (Unapologetically Black) (Produced by Ev-Live)” there’s a strange, almost 70s sitcom sample teased out that feels so reassuring. Pieces of funk filter in with “A Beautiful Soul Featuring Ke Turner (Produced by Jadin Shropshire)”.
A luxurious, lush tact glides on through with the post-modern pop aesthetics of “Live Your Life Featuring Ted Bundy DaGod (Produced by Jadin Shropshire)” as there is a gleeful abandon to it. Vocals speak truth on “King Sh!T (Produced by Jadin Shropshire)” for the song highlights the importance of self-reflection. Kaleidoscopic elements take shape as “The Gift (Produced by Jadin Shropshire)” features a wonderful, woozy imagery. Contemplation defines the strength of “Beyond The Surface Featuring Balance Da Jeweler (Produced by EA)”. With “The Chosen One (Produced by EA)” they go for a noir-like angelic atmosphere. Warbled jazz guides “The Darkness (Produced by EA)”. Saxophone licks gives “On The Right Path Featuring Mega X (Produced by EA)” a sense of otherworldliness. Perfectly tying together all that came before it is the fantastic finale of “Rise ‘N Shine featuring Jadin Shropshire & J Nolan (Produced by DCeeMusik) scratches by DJ Fadewall”.
“Grand Rising” has a classic quality to it, for Amari Mar’s delivery has a potency to it one that touches the heart and mind.