Friday, August 29, 2008 | Posted in ,,,,,

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When it comes to top drawer lyricism and neck snapping beats, the names Pumpkinhead, Mr. Metaphor, and Block McCloud ring out like a shot. From their head turning appearances at Lyricist Lounge to their performances on the international circuit to their much loved singles and mixtapes, the three emcees have built an army of fans hungry for authentic rap music. Together as Brooklyn Academy, the trio represent a return to the original aesthetics of hard core hip-hop. Bored of Education, the group's full length debut, is the culmination of a career at the forefront of the lyric driven hip-hop movement. A collective of emcees who have been holding down the microphone for over a decade each, Brooklyn Ac approach their craft with a love of the fundamentals of rap music rarely seen in the age of million dollar ringtones. For the fans who have been following their career from the first drum hit, at long last, the wait is over.

1. One (Intro) feat. Jean Grae (Produced By: Beat Geez)
2. Raise Ya Hands feat. Jean Grae (Produced By: Illmindz)
3. We Don't Play (Produced By: The Gyfted)
4. Message To Brooklyn (Skit) (Produced By: J. Cardim)
5. I'm From Brooklyn feat. Ill Bill (Produced By: Al'Tarba)
6. That's Brooklyn feat. Will Tell (Produced By: I-See-On)
7. The Growler (Produced By: Marco Polo)
8. Bored Of Ed (Produced By: Haze Attacks)
9. Tear It Down (Produced By: Beat Brewers)
10. Blame It On The Alcohol (Skit) (Produced By: Will Tell)
11. Splash feat. Killah Priest (Produced By: MagOwl)
12. Black Out feat. Jean Grae (Produced By: Snowgoons)
13. Suicide (Produced By: Scorpio61)
14. Close Your Eyes feat. Skam 2 (Produced By: Unknown)
15. Back In Effect (Produced By: Irv Ford)
16. What's The Buzz (Produced By: Black Milk)
17. Peanuts (Skit) (Produced By: Block McCloud)
18. Nothin' You Can Do feat. Jean Grae (Produced By: Sicknature)

Raise Ya hands wasn't a great way to start the album for me. Illmind is a god but if you have ever played 'chopsticks' on the piano.. this beat is like the violin version. A 5min 45sec violin version. By the time I reached the middle of the track, I wanted to cut the strings off that fucking violin!!!

Don't make the mistake of thinking that 'This Is Brooklyn' or 'That's Brooklyn' will be the anthems that their titles would lead you to believe, because they're not. Both are rhymed over down tempo drums and claps (yes, claps.), the latter almost sounding South with the chants. It was also a tad overkill to place these tracks playing immediately one after the other. The following track 'The Growler' injects some much needed energy into the first half of the album. Marco Polo providing a bouncy beat on which the emcees come to life, all of them grabbing a syllable and fucking with it (RA The Rugged Man styleeee) til they've murdered their verse:

Pumpkinhead: "It's Brooklyn Ac; We accurate; We accumulate the accolades to aggregate an accurate accident in the Acura bumpin' Academy; Actually your anatomy gets an axe; I'll send a cannonball through your canopy; Can it be so simple; Crack through your draw brizzle (bridge); Mack with a long pizzle (pistol); Ac is the wrong crizzle (crew); To act like you're gon' pistle - whip; This is a crooked track; Met, Block and PH what you lookin' at?"

After another two so-so tracks ('Hide' & 'Tear It Down'), the trio come with their Killah Priest collab, Splash. As soon as the joint plays, you know it's gonna be a goody and just acts as such a refreshment after the slow and somewhat lifeless beats that precede it. Strings, emotional vocals, guitar riff..Block comes fierce when the drums kick in and the other emcees follow suit, flowing nicely over the beat and doing themselves justice. Priest is completely in his element and this is the type of beat you can imagine him rhyming over. Naturally, he kills it.

Black Out is another strong track on the album, latin sounding horns and piano over energetic drums. You'd expect nothing less from the Snowgoons who also lace the chorus with delicious cuts. All emcees, along with Jean Grae who perhaps steals the show, do their thing. Next comes Suicide, another banga with a catchy ass chorus! I wish there could have been more of these tracks on the album! The Academy keep up the momentum with Close Your Eyes, an AOTP-type, epic of a song carried by sped up vocals on the chorus.

Next comes the minimalist Indian beat on Back In Effect which is just..well, it's a bit rubbish really. Skip! Black Milk makes his appearance on the joint with production on What's The Buzz which again comes across as a hollow track, especially when you have in mind the incredible job he did on Elzhi's The Preface, you can't help feel a little disappointed (and there are more claps to enjoy!). They do go out with a bang on Nothing You Can Do, a big orchestral (yet playful!) beat from Denmark's Sicknature, who has worked with the likes of AOTP, Snowgoons and LCN, so expect production along that vein.

I wouldn't say that Bored of Education is wack because it isn't by any means. All three emcees come lyrically correct - I was feelin' Pumpkinhead throughout, and he was entertaining to me even on those joints where I wasn't liking the production ("We bang on tracks like early 19th century asians", "I might've smoked dust in the past but the fact is I never bit it"). The album is just let down by one too many mediocre beats; out of 17 songs, I would say 6 are dope..the rest are just not that special and a couple are downright horrible. It's a shame because when Block, Met and Pumpkinhead are riding over a sick beat, they truly do shine.. there just wasn't enough of it. Is it worth getting the album? Hmm.. I would say yes. Those 6 tracks really were that dope.