Although El Da Sensei at times sports a flow reminiscent of Craig Mack’s, his sophomore solo joint is not some Diddy produced throwaway. In fact, with production coming from the likes of Jake One, Saukrates, Ill Mind, and Fusion, the former member of the critically acclaimed underground duo The Artifacts, keeps things relevant and, at times, rewind worthy.
With The Unusual El rocks over what he calls “traditional hip hop…” with “no tasteless skits or filler.” Plenty of live elements, guitars, horns, choir harmonics, and sparse percussion, with deep bass and strong kicks, help to elevate the flow of one of rap music’s unsung heroes. Guest appearances by noteworthy mic wielders like O.C. and Sean Price also serve to bolster an already very lyrical production.
Hype tracks like the first single “Crowd Pleaser” offer up that real East Coast crunkness and “Natural Feel Good” is that laid-back summertime shine. Keys, bass and uplifting wordage make for a pleasurable listening experience. “Lights, Camera, Action,” while not as hype as the Mr. Cheeks song of the same name, provides ample head-nodding opportunity.
So, if you’re looking for an Artifacts reunion, this isn’t it. However, if you’re a fan of the Golden Age rap or just down for some good old-fashioned East Coast hip hop, then this is the CD for you. Rep Jersey, yo!