The Metaphorcast is a debut with a history. We kick off with the freestyle clips that gave him his name on the scene. Now here’s an introduction. This album is undoubtedly one for the heads. For a first release, in context and in comparison, its more than aight.
He’s got a reason. Reason is action and reason is results. There are constant shout outs and recognition and respect for various co-workers and all British hip hop heads – and respect comes right back. Forget Lil Wayne’s egotistical ignorant disrespect of the DJ, and of the unity in existence of all the elements of hip hop.
“For The Love” gives us double time spitting, that’s beyond passionate; you can feel emotion and sincerity in his vocals. This is for everyone – I do it for the love. Despite being the live champ, he's out to prove he is not a punchline only, MC. What stops this track becoming too ballad-like and frail as the title might suggest, is his upfront admittance, that yes, he does it for the love. He does it for many reasons. But just because money is not his only reason, it does not mean it is not one of his reasons. He acknowledges he is human and gains the listeners respect in doing so.
“M.O.N.E.Y.” requires some degree of effort on behalf of the listener – but this could be what divides true hip hop heads, and genuinely reliable journalists from the scrap. You are able to take something away from this track only if you are willing to listen. You need to listen to the this album like a complete sponge. Soak it all in all so you can fully feel it’s true effect. Strangely enough, the short outro to this track which loses the vocal presence; becomes the part of the track which allows the vocal effect dominate. Give it chance to flow through all your pores without you switching off and moving on. Gareth Johnson’s combination of pounding bases and the fiery background vocals make the track feel almost film soundtrack like.
“Carnival” has this old school guitar and breaks combo that I imagine would sound something like Nice and Smooth doing a cover of Boogie Back… This track is not overly funky or destructive. It’s just fun, upbeat and easy to take. “Capital City” is completely different. The beats are so motivated. The lyrics are don’t appear to be deep, but we need think about what he is addressing, and the bigger metaphors. That isn’t what does it for me on this track though. What I love about it is how it reminds me of them old school tracks we all learn every word to and will not doubt attempt to rap along to during the course of the summer. And the beauty of this track is that, like you don’t have to be American to know every line of “I Know You Got Soul” – you don’t have to be from ye ol Capital City to want to repeat these lines, because you can still get something from them.
Reain’s name explains itself by being constantly established throughout his art. Reain is a combination of “rain” and “reign”. The danger that comes with power comes together with the opportunity for positive change. Rain can wash away your hope but it can also wash away your pain. Reain has a classic internal locus of control. He recognises that certain things will never be in his control, yet he sees his actions as having a greater purpose, and is aware that there are many things he can influence himself. And he is prepared to fight to gain that control in order to change the ideas that he does not accept.
The whole is it a bird, is it a plane? Superman esc intro to “Super Lyrical” does the title no justice. It’s not remotely original. It’s extremely grating. But listening past that does entail some alright lyrics. Some. This track actually gives me the impression that he wrote the title before the song. He is trying so hard to fulfil it that he loses sight of his natural intellect and the flow we witness on the other tracks. The beats I could swear I’ve heard before. That doesn’t mean I don’t like them. I just can’t comment much more about them.
Now “Beauty”, Beauty is superlyrical. Here’s the personality that won several Jump Off street battles in LDN and New York. This is the lyrical flow of a literal show. It starts with yet another we heard it before, and not just as a saying, it’s been sampled before, phrase. But the rest of the track is pretty damn hard to slate. The pause, play style of the beat contrasts Reain’s constant flow throughout this track ingeniously. The ideas of what beauty is are beautiful in their own right. I’ve realised as I’ve got older, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it’s what’s inside you and who your truly are. Caps of to TE1. Please teach these mainstream producers how to do their jobs. In fact, you know what, give you caps to TE1. This track is mellow yet uplifting.
“Back II Back” has me hooked from the first piano chime. And he has done it again. These lyrics will undoubtedly be memorized, internalised and repeated. Precise and Nesterick were both completely class on “Capital City”. And here Precise is nothing but, well, precise.
“Dear Diary” – I’m not sure if I like. Or want to like. Every listen is a new take. It’s the idea present and the two words missing from every rap. The hip hop soliloquy. There is something sinister and complex behind the apparent simple and almost juvenile ideas, “Dear Diary” is dissembled by the dark, brooding beats which flow over, not under, the track. Several tracks on the album actually come off as unnecessarily sinister. Lyrics like You’re better slitting your wrists son probably have no Murakami style intention, it just looks like he’s trying to shock and offend but comes off looking a bit messed up himself.
There’s an almost gothic attitude to the record. The album cover shows the Augustus Pugin designed Houses Of Parliament – one of our countries best known remaining gothic buildings. Jewelz’s sinister production really emphasises this darker aspect of the album. It’s a compelling listen. But I get the feeling that the deepest, least obvious and most intriguingly original parts were thrown in completely unconsciously. Surely the greatest geniuses don’t even need to think to affect. Reain needs to embrace his twisted side a bit more. Close his eyes and let it all fester.
Release date: 11/08/2008.
02. Who Am I?
03. The Rap Game
04. For The Love
07. Capital City
08. Super Lyrical
10. Back To Back
11. Dear Diary