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Barak Yalad A Loss For Words [review]

Calling both Springfield, Mass. and Brooklyn, NY home, Barak Yalad is one of the Rawkus 50, and his debut album, A Loss For Words, was released on the 27th of November. Dude is super lyrical, and the beats are definitely unique. Let's track-by-track this jawn:

Yalad is mad humble. He don't care if you download it, bootleg it, or whatever, he's just happy to have an album out after 18 years in the game. I love the weird backwards-sample loops in the beat. Kind of a random intro, but hey, it could be on some dumb shit like some other MCs...

"The Beginning"
Oooooo... any track that wheels itself mid-verse gets an instant grin from me. The beat is just ill by itself - imagine a Gregorian chant being looped and pitched, then add a funky bassline and tight drums to it. Def. takes me back to the headnodding tracks of '98. Dude's got rhymes galore, something that makes the title of this album mad ironic, but his voice and delivery reminds me of Pharoahe Monch during the later Organized Konfusion days, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. That chorus is kind of lacking, but whatever.

I'm not a big fan of heavily-distorted rock-infused beats, but this one has me open. I like that "fitted like white-people's jeans" line, and dude def. has wild lines, but you have to pay mad attention, which is refreshing. There's mad shit going on in his verses...

I'm a sucker for beats that sample from like old TV shows or just that sound of the '50s and '60s. My assumption is that this is jacked from the Bewitched theme song, but that's just an assumption. Dude is stylin' on mad cats with his "slick talk and walk", but there's no real concept as of yet, which is a fault of many underground MCs. That "ritzy" sample at the end of the track is ill, too.

Ah, a track with more depth. Yalad spends this one breaking down things in life that are beautiful. You can imagine how this one goes down (peace is beautiful, not paying bills is beautiful), and it does exactly what you'd expect. Dude is mad insightful, and intelligent, though. Understated beat, not really one of the bangers on the disc.

"The Release"
I'm not really feeling this one at all. It seems like it's more about his spiritual ideals, I guess he is a muslim? Not really my thing, and that chorus reminds me of a random Busta Rhymes line...

Best beat on the entire album; sounds like some Shirley Temple shit. I do NOT like how he kind of just stopped rhyming at the end, instead repeating a mantra, but I do like how aggressive and, well, lion-esque he was on this one.

"Times Change"
This one puts me to sleep. The piano-driven sample sounds odd, like it has some weird filter on it. His rhymes are more on the tapping the paranoia and problems of our society today, but I've heard this numerous times in the past, and done a bit better than this.

"Eat you like a sandwich". Word. Dude just has rhymes for days. Not all of his lines pop, but put together its a heavy package. This is actually one of the odder cuts, only because he hits with so many lines, this is would be for the punchline-lovers, but its lacking in sharp darts. I really do like that beat, though, with that faint saxaphone in there.

"So Cool"
Interesting organ-driven beat on this one. One of the better choruses on this LP, too. This one would go down well in concert, has a nice swing to it.

"False Prophets"
So he's a Hebrew Israelite? I knew a kid who was a Hebrew Israelite. He used to sell FAT sacks of green, but then when I bought it, I'd be at his tiny crib, so we'd smoke out of the sack I brought. It was a lil better than schwag, but wasn't KB in any sense of the phrase. I saw the R. Kelly video AND Fight Club with this dude, and even performed his ceremony on a Friday night once. He used to kick this stuff, letting me know who was real and who was perpetrating. He was a cool dude, actually. I miss that guy.

"Crop Cream"
I dunno who this chick is rhyming on here, but she's kind of aggressive. "New Jack like Ice T" is a funny line. I was never big on beats like this; it's mad large, but that wailing in there just does not appeal to me. And I wasn't expecting dude to even speak about cats that "will eat your food", but yeah.

All in all, this is a solid set. I'm not sure I know a lot more about Barak than I did when I first heard this - I know he's lyrical and spiritual. He definitely has rhymes, maaaad rhymes, but sometimes it can be quite overwhelming, especially for a 12 track album that's less that 50 minutes long - I feel like I've sat through an hour and a half of lyrics. Some nice ideas on the beats, but really, you've heard a lot of this before. It's just good to hear Rawkus giving guys like Yalad the chance to shine in today's scene.

rock the dub gives A Loss For Words a 3.75 out of 5 stars. Dude has boatloads of rhymes, and the beats definitely knock, but the ultimate goal doesn't feel like it was met. I am intrigued, though, to hear what Barak Yaland has in mind in the future.

Burn Deez: "Lion", "So Cool", "Bewitch"

related links:
Barak Yalad on MySpace
Barak Yalad's Rawkus Profile
Barak Yalad on Facebook
Listen to the entire LP via Rhapsody

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