If there is any album that you buy this year, instead of downloading (legally of course), it’s Brotherman’s ‘The Dark / The Light’. The packaging is the most original I’ve seen in UK Hip Hop. The project is a double EP, 6 tracks on each so effectively it’s a 12 track album on two CDs. Each CD has its own sleeve, they slot together to combine the light and dark inspired artwork and to form one jewel case sized package… argh, you’ll just have to buy it to understand what I mean!
Thankfully, the marketing ploys are thoroughly backed up by the quality of the music. Brotherman has that likeable voice (also possessed by Dr. Syntax and Verb T) and is poetical with his lyrics. He gives a voice to society’s silent and scripts situations confined usually to the psyche.
‘The Dark’ is a 6 track lament with Brotherman’s everyday observations providing fodder for his lyrics. A focus on education and children appears to be the inspiration for these songs as crime of all kinds are discouraged and family values are promoted. Brotherman brings a message of hope to those in difficult situations and opens a window to those who don’t really understand the plight of the ghettos of the UK. The production lifts the poignant subject matter, furthering the feeling of hope.
Some elements of ‘The Light’ set it apart from ‘The Dark’ although it’s really a natural progression of its other half. The production is more upbeat and the introduction, for example, is just straight rap boasting. ‘One I’ is an ode to a life with Hip Hop but ‘Heart of Dem’ returns to analysing today’s youth. ‘Wrong’ pushes the message that relationships need to be worked at, something society needs to heed. ‘Who Knows What’ is the stand out for me, the opening lyrics (ones I’ve already quoted here) are so beautiful and emotive and the growing up theme is done to a T.
‘The Dark / The Light’ is one of the best releases this year and Silent Soundz should be proud to add this to their already quality back catalogue. Everyone from the streets to the Natty-fan-in-Tesco should love this album; let’s hope they get to hear it.