MP3 Philly Black - Therapeutic Intervention
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13 MP3 Songs in this album (49:03) !
Related styles: Hip-Hop/Rap: Hip Hop, Urban/R&B: R&B Rap mix, Solo Male Artist
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The intro track of Philly Blackâs Code Red: Therapeutic Intervention features perhaps one of the most iconic speeches in movie history: the âYou Canât Handle the Truthâ speech from A Few Good Men breaks out over a freshly familiar beat, which gives rhythm to Jack Nicholsonâs patter. The track serves multiple purposes. It establishes a heavy reverence for the songs to follow, it lays out Philly Blackâs history as an Infantry soldier in the United States Army, and it informs the listener that what is about to follow is, without a doubt, the truth.
Philly Blackâs story unrolls across Code Red, giving insight into the man behind the rhymes. On âYou Must Learn,â he talks about âliving the art of war,â and coming up on streets filled with gats and cats slinging crack. On âDays I Walk,â a sample sings âI walk alone, alone, alone, alone.â Black joins in, saying âNobody understands the difficulties of life, the demons Iâm battling every day that Iâm living life. So hard to cope when my troubles is on my shoulders, weighinâ down like boulders, most days not even sober.â Itâs a real portrayal of a man trying to make it, struggling to make ends meet while feeling stuck in the day-to-day.
It is there, in the honesty and vulnerability of his raps, that Philly Black distinguishes himself from the majority of rappers trying to make it today, consumed by swagger and fake fronts. Black isnât afraid to admit hardship or outline struggle, choosing to confront those realities head-on rather than ignoring them. He doesnât back down from grandiose aspirations either. On one of the albumâs pinnacle tracks, âForgive Us,â he samples John F. Kennedy extolling the power of man alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.âs âI Have A Dreamâ and âMountaintopâ speeches. Black rattles off a list of Biblical men and foretells of a coming judgment day, before letting King take the track home with his proclamation that he has seen the coming of the Lord.
Sometimes, though, Philly Black falls away from the mission statement he outlines on âOfficial,â to âseparate the real from the fakeâ and âreduce the weightâ of hip-hop. He occasionally falls prey to the rap crutch of posturing rather than storytelling, using his skills and style as a fill-in for substance. Philly Blackâs flow has its roots in rapâs best wordsmiths â Slick Rick, Devin the Dude, Del tha Funkee Homosapien â and when he forgets that by talking about his talents rather than showcasing them, the music suffers. When he shares his story, itâs worth tuning in. The rhymes arenât the always the most complex, but thatâs not the point. He unleashes his vocabulary when it doesnât get in the way of the story. The rest of the time, he backs off and lets his subjects do the teaching.
The production on Code Red is impressive. Samples mesh with original beats nicely, and the songs have a crisp balance to them. While occasionally the songs could benefit from more open bass, Philly Black does a good job using his voice to add edge in some places, like on âAll I Got,â while smoothing out subjects on songs like âRise Above.â The bombast of âForgive Usâ is followed directly by âBlunted Wisdom,â a light-hearted and bouncy tune that pays homage to the rappers that paved the way without becoming too sentimental, with lines like âSlick Rick told me stories before bed â Hey Young World!â These two songs, juxtaposed on the album, are two of Code Redâs best, and donât seem even the least bit forced.
Philly Black comes from a rough background. He grew up in Philadelphiaâs Richard Allen Projects, before a series events led to his estrangement and separation from his single mother. After enlisting, Philly Black saw his writing flourish, and his music career began in the Army. He struggled after leaving the forces, but comes back with Code Red: Therapeutic Intervention to remind listeners that while he may have been down, he was never out. Itâs a testament to the manâs strength that he maintains a positive outlook and spirit after so many trials. Instead of being overcome by bitterness he pushes onward, elevating his raps to, in his words, âexpress rage to motivate people to make a positive change.â If enough people hear him, theyâll hopefully do just that.
Review by Chris Barth
Rating: 4 Stars (out of 5)
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