#throwbackthursday Album Review: Beat Rabbi and Deepspace 5 - Deepspace5oul


Release Date: 2008

In 2005, hip hop fans were treated to an excellent record from supergroup Deepspace 5, containing emcees the likes of Playdough, manCHILD, Listener, and several others. Those 19 tracks were made up of beats created by two men, DJ Dust and Beat Rabbi. Since that album, Beat Rabbi has been working on a little project of his own, with the intention of going old school with his beats. And from all of his hard work comes Deepspace5oul.

Just to clear up any ideas you may have about this being a hip hop instrumental album, it's not. Though the instrumentals did come with a pre-order of the album, Beat Rabbi utilized the vocal talents of the Deepspace crew.. The majority of the songs contain either two of the emcees working together to create a full-length song, or a single emcee performing for about a minute and a half (maybe a little longer). Stand-out tracks are Playdough and Sivion in the lyrically enlightening "Beautiful," the Mars ILL-remixed "Lip Service," and the funky backdrop of "Dance Your Life Away". You also can't go wrong with the full ensemble on the title track, where each emcee gets to display his own individual style. Read More Here

As a Christian hip hop crew, DS5 ensures that their ideas of spirituality are existent in the not-so-spiritual realm of hip hop, especially in mainstream hip hop music Beat Rabbi and DS5 bring their "A" game to the scene. More so with Christian hip hop music, the spiritual message that is conveyed within the music is of the up most importance to both fans and the group. Beat Rabbi and DS5 take on the challenge to prove their message as it remains strong in tracks such as "Beautiful." With its slow, ominous horn intro, the hard beat and bass eventually releases as some talented scratching is incorporated. Playdough and Sivion of DS5 play up this track with their lyricism while showing how life is more beautiful than what it seems as they say, "His strength and my weakness are beautiful." A deep instrumental bass and echoing twang reverberate throughout "Side Note" while showing that "on a side note, never know with these journeys that we take."

Straying away from the more traditional sounds heard in previous albums, "Dance Your Life Away" features emcee Listener on another one of Beat Rabbi's interesting sounds as he incorporates a more experimental, electronic cadence. As more and more individuals lack the individuality and integrity of being their own person, Listener expands on this idea as he shows in a rather cynical, monotonous voice:

"Four words, "dance your life away"
Three words, "throwing life away"
You got to do what they tell you
Or they won't be happy with you
So march to the music that they play in your head
Let's be good little robots
Hope that we are accepted
Remember that beauty is only skin deep..."

Although the more spiritual audience would argue that the album lacks in originality in conveying a righteous message or the crew sounds forced into rapping about Christianity, an unbiased, less spiritual view from myself would say the complete opposite. There is nothing in the music that seems contrived or unreal as the mission to instill a positive view on life is clearly present and genuine.

Nonetheless, Beat Rabbi and DS5 keep the momentum going in "Deepspace5oul" as the shorter one and half minute tracks are incorporated in between longer tracks in order to add some variety to the album. As the pioneer to the DS5 crew, Manchild introduces himself on "The Founder" as he explains his professes his lyrical confidence on a simple organ beat. With an instrumental bass to summon "The Last Samurai," Beat Rabbi ties in some sampling and scratching to accompany the lyricism about being like a last samurai with nothing to lose. Although releasing a relatively simple beat, "Life Is" drills the message as to what life is all about. Full of quick wit and realism, the track shows:

"Life is full of surprises
It's beautiful and it's good
But life is not easy though
Nobody ever said it would
Nothing in life is free
And most of the time well, you have to pay double
Life is an experience that you have to be there for
And makes you get out of your bubble
'If' is the middle word in 'life' and that's always the big question
Hey, at least we're trying
Take the 'F' out and you have a 'lie'
But you have to decide who's lying"

Many can argue that the type of beats and lyricism coming from Beat Rabbi and DS5 are a bit outdated for the present hip hop scene as it reflects a sound that was more popular in past years. On the contrary, Beat Rabbi's 70's funk, jazz inspired sound is timeless and irreplaceable in the timeline of hip hop. It is exactly the type of beat that I seem to be drawn to over and over again as it never gets old. It's the sound that many have made popular including that of famed labels such as Quannum. Unlike what the hype says, this type of hip hop is far from dying and yes, it's not the krunked, club hits you hear on the radio, but this is what makes it underground. "Deepspace5oul" is a celebrated collaboration between Beat Rabbi and DS5 that only emphasizes the capabilities of one another. An unexpected surprise of classic sounds and variety of lyricism is sure to engage any true underground hip hop fan.

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