Learning that Seez Mics has a background in spoken word poetry made perfect sense to me after listening to his latest release, â€œCruel Fuel.â€
Seez Mics, known for being one-half of his former group Educated Consumers and for his time as an American Battle MC, has been in the game for a long time, and Iâ€™m intrigued that this particular album was our first introduction, as I discovered itâ€™s quite a different direction from some of his past work.
The album was released last month on the label Crushkill Recordings, which was started by Eyedea shortly before his passing. Seez Mics speaks sincerely and humbly of their longtime friendship on the record, as well as touches on other friends heâ€™s lost, perhaps even touching upon these subjects of death (and life after grieving) in this personal capacity for the first time in his work.
â€œCruel Fuelâ€ is appropriately titled as such, with many of his lyrics and patterns being spit like fast and furious mantras. That being said, this album isnâ€™t for everyone – itâ€™s definitely different. And thatâ€™s what it makes it awesome.
Itâ€™s the type of album I want to listen to when Iâ€™m pissed off, working out or walking somewhere maybe a little too far in the cold ass upstate NY weather, but then certain tracks are pensive and poetic and therefore the album rounds itself out well. Itâ€™s a very clear point of view with honest innovation, and its clear he took some serious risks with this project. Itâ€™s progressive and polished, while still featuring a nice variety of moods, tempos and dark truths. Each time Iâ€™ve listened, Iâ€™ve discovered a new favorite line I didnâ€™t catch the first time.
Several of the tracks read like whimsical and modern folklore, while others are as real as real can be. The album is reflective and touches on topics of religion, cynicism, optimism, music, questioning society and relationships, as well as an internal battle of figuring out what one believes in and stands for, especially how to bounce back when shit happens.
Stand-out tracks for me included â€œSerotonin Sweepstakes,â€ â€œThatâ€™s Not How It Works,â€ â€œHuman Farmâ€ (this track was a surprise, and pushes the album into other genres besides hip hop), â€œWhat Your Head Will Hold,â€ and â€œTorn.â€ The instrumental â€œAngel In The Engineâ€ is also quite pleasant and breaks up the gritty experimental hip hop feel of the album. Overall, I was quite impressed by the artistry of this album, although I admittedly didnâ€™t love, love it at first. The tracks just seem to build and build and have since found a secure slot on my regular listening rotation.