SEAN BORN "BEHIND THE SCALE" VINYL LP
autographed by Kev Brown
Originally released February 28, 2012
PRODUCED BY KEV BROWN
2/10/ KEN WOOD
MASTERED BY K-DEF
ARTWORK BY RODDY ROD
POTHOLES IN MY BLOG REVIEW... they called it "TRAP MUSIC"... Ha..
"I have a confession: I don’t like so-called “trap” music. While I understand its place in hip-hop, I can’t listen to rappers whose sole artistic purpose is to tell you how much weed they smoke, and how their mans-and-‘em fell victim to the cold streets. You can blame the era in which I grew up, but I prefer insightful social commentary over hallow chatter any day of the week. Therefore, I initially didn’t know what to think of Maryland MC Sean Born. Is he another one of those trap rappers? Or, is he a “conscious” performer looking to enlighten the masses through song? After multiple listens to Born’s debut album, Behind The Scale, the answer is clear: He’s both.
One could argue that trap rap is social commentary at its finest. Theoretically, it’s about real life stories at the ground level, told by people who live the existence they glamorize. Sure, the rappers aren’t bemoaning racial injustice or decrying the school system, but they shed light upon the ugly aspects of everyday life: finding ways to pay the light bill and wondering from where the next meal will come. But all too often these days, those messages are lost in a sea of formulaic production that fails to hold my attention. Not so with Born’s gritty project, a boastful recording of percussive boom bap and expansive funk rhythms, all punctuating the MC’s brutally honest look into the drug game and its harsh entrapments. Certainly, there’s violence and untimely death, but Born’s lyrical fluidity adds a nostalgic element to the drama, his gruff abrasiveness painting a vivid picture of despair. And he doesn’t waste time, either: seven of the album’s 13 songs are in the two-minute range.
Keep peeling the onion, and Born reveals himself as a simple man with a simple goal: “I ain’t tryin’ to be a kingpin, nigga/Real talk, I’m just tryin’ to pay rent,” he says on “Lights On”. That yeoman’s approach solidifies the album’s authenticity and captures vividly the desolation of Prince George’s County, a diverse suburb of Washington, D.C. “Cases build while the bodies pile up/Uncle’s cookin’ dope, little cousins vile up,” Born rhymes on the cinematic “Queen Anne”, a blend of trickling guitar chords over a horn-heavy thump. Elsewhere, he chastises fame on “Skeez” and pays homage to the grind on the exceptional “Pluck ‘Em Off.” In fact, Born’s song titles are quite telling — “Go Hard,” “Murdaland,” “Take It And Run,” among others. Overall, Behind The Scale channels Raekwon’s classic Only Built 4 Cuban Linx as a captivating saga centered on three main topics: drugs, crime, and violence. The varied production plays a major role in Born’s success, but his offbeat flow is a flawless centerpiece for the menacing soundtrack. So while I’m still iffy on trap music, Behind The Scale softens my stance. Just a little bit."