¡MAYDAY! isn't only difficult to type, they're one of the best hip-hop groups running, especially when it comes to their live show. But while their powers are significant when combined, their individual parts are also potent, including, of course, co-frontman and emcee Bernz.
As anyone who's listened to ¡Mayday! knows there was already no question about Bernz' talent, so I don't really look at his new solo album, See You on the Other Side, as a chance to prove himself or break away from the group, especially when the album is loaded with features and production from his Strange Music brethren, including Wrekonize, Tech N9ne, Plex Luthor and more. Instead, it's a chance for us to see his more unique creative vision - what does a Bernz album sound like when he's the only person with final say over the music's sound and concept?
We're about to find out. Up-Down-Up-Down-A-B-Select-Start , this is the Cheat Code album review for Bernz' See You on the Other Side album, the entire project broken down in one quick guide. If you find yourself intrigued by this quick walk through, chances are good you're going to love the album as a whole.
3 Standout Songs
Sometimes the best song off the album is the single. More than just a catchy song, and it's catchy enough to accidentally hook a dolphin, in many ways "Outta My Brain" is a great representation of the album as a whole. While the melody is undeniably light, melodic and summery, the pounding drums give it some real meat, and the same goes for the lyrics. While it's easy to mistake this as a summer anthem, dig a little deeper and you'll find lyrics about self-doubt and self-destruction. This song's like stepping into what you thought was the shallow end of the pool and finding yourself neck deep, which also serves as a description of the album as a whole.
While "Outta My Brain" had a candy shell, "Chasing Shadows" is more overtly somber and serious with a real hazy, gauzy, Portishead-esque vibe. Here Bernz is on his auto-biographical tip, but while he's laying open his life as an artist, it's easy to insert your own life into the verses, no matter your profession. In many ways it reminds me of ¡MAYDAY! and MURS' excellent "Here," another song about trying to find your place in the world when you're the puzzle piece that never seems to fit. We're all chasing something, this is the soundtrack to the hunt.
Picking the last standout song is always tricky, especially on filler-free albums like See You on the Other Side. I thought of going with either "Sunday Sin" or "Quiet Place," because of the respective Tech N9ne and Krizz Kaliko features, but chances are Strange fans are going to listen to those tracks regardless. Instead, it was "Square One" that really hit me hardest. Again, the production here is lighter, bouncing, this is the kind of beat that could break a bobblehead's springs clean off, and Bernz' flow is hypnotic enough to space you out, but again there's a real heart beating at the center of the song.
See You on the Other Side is an album of contrasts. It has bite, but you won't find any of the more openly aggressive face-shredders common on other Strange Music albums. On the flip side, it has some true good vibe jams, but there's consistently a shadow lurking beneath even the most gleaming of surfaces. This is party music for those who have partied enough to see the dark side, motivational music for those who have gone through too much to be fooled by empty motivation. It's deceptively complex, it's versatile, and perhaps most importantly, it's Bernz.
By Nathan S, the managing editor of DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.
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