Mixing elements of spoken word poetry and smooth free-styling is Florida-based emcee Bleubird and his new album CANNONBALL!!!. Not being familiar to his brand of hip-hop, my first impression of Bleubird’s style via the first cut on CANNONBALL!!! (“Fog Rollin”) was that he has been influenced by the likes of Sage Francis. Bleubird’s approach is much like Francis in the way he presents a laid-back flow that easily goes along with the beat of the song.
As the album moves along, I’m struck by the differences in beats from track to track. “Black Sandcastles” features more of an infectious club beat that definitely has a modern mainstream feel to it, while the cut “Pimp Hand” has a deep bass and hi-hat sampled sound (reminiscent of something Jamiroquai would use). Along with Bleubird’s vocals, “Pimp Hand” definitely shines as one of the highlight tracks off of this album.
An odd wrench is thrown into the gears by way of the sixth track, “Christian Wife,” an acoustic guitar duet with Lynne Piper. It’s a really odd break from the hip-hop beats, but works in a way as an intermission with its dry wit lyrical content. Beats laid down for Bleubird’s vocals range from sampled cuts from various sources to live instrumentation of drums, double bass, pianos and acoustic guitars. The album also features special appearances by Radical Face, Astronautalis, and Ceschi.
CANNONBALL!!! has some good material contained in its 11 tracks and provides as a good introduction into the music and artistic styling’s of Bleubird. While I think this album deserves a marginal nod, in the future I would like to hear more faster flows as opposed to the slowed down spoken word segments.
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