Music Review: Rhymefest Dangerous 5:18 (Pre-album)

Rhymefest's latest mixtape "Dangerous 5:18"

Rhymefest's latest mixtape "Dangerous 5:18"

I’m happy to kick off the first official Music Review from FadHawk with the release of Rhymefest’s “Dangerous 5:18” Pre-Album / mixtape.

First things first: Rhymefest does use profanity, and explores certain adult themes (though admittedly not perversely, as hip-hop has been known to do). Children and the faint of heart should probably skip this one.

Dangerous 5:18 is the final mixtape released during the lead up to Rhymefest’s sophomore album, “El Che”, which (finally!) drops on May 18th, 2010 (hence, 5:18). His last album, “Blue Collar”, was released in 2006 and capitalized on the success of “Jesus Walks”, for which Rhymefest won a Grammy as co-writer (with Kanye West).

Che explores some new territory on this latest mixtape, especially when compared to the balance between lighthearted and heavy on “Blue Collar”. Here, every track swings for the fences, at the expense of some lightheartedness. There is no prevailing theme, which lends the end product a ‘B-sides collection/mixed bag’ feel. The difference here is that these “B-sides” are better than many proper hip-hop albums from more well-known artists, and it’s mind-blowing to consider that he saved the best for his actual album.

Dangerous kicks off with the excellent “Martyr”, a track that simultaneously recalls revolutionary imagery while explaining Che’s disenchantment with the music industry in his own words. The beat, like most of the rest of the compilation, are well produced and match the flow very well.

“Dont call it a comeback / I been here for years / Fans know my name / Motherf*** my peers”

The disjointed nature of the album makes it easier to appreciate each track for its own brilliance. While every track has at least several flashes of brilliance, several are outstanding (“Martyr”, “Familiar Faces”,”Do It Again”,”What Do I Do”) and none are pure misses.

Two tracks in particular exemplify the different facets of the collection. “What Do I Do” starts as a dark dissection of the life of a drug addict, and ends up being a very interesting observation on the nature of Satan. Meanwhile, “Do It Again” explores near-spoken-word territory and delves deeper into Che’s experiences within the music industry. Both tracks are excellent, with each verse dripping with meaning and outstanding production value, but both with wildly differing themes.

Overall, this collection of tracks forms a very original and meaningful album. You would be hard-pressed to find another album like it, which falls perfectly in line with the rest of Rhymefest’s releases. This pre-release is so good, in fact, that I find it hard to believe “El Che” can match its brilliance, much less surpass it. Of course, Che Smith/Rhymefest has made a career out of proving people wrong, and I hope he does it again.

You can download “Dangerous 5:18” here, for free or for a donation (“Name Your Price”)- you may be so impressed with the release, you’ll come back and pay for it (like I did).


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