Wednesday, December 26, 2012

[Album Review] Gary Samurai - Lemuria.

Atlanta standout rapper Gary Samurai recently released his latest album Lemuria., which after doing some research I learned is the name of a "lost" land that resided somewhere between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Many theories are out there about whether or not Lemuria actually existed, similar to the lost city of Atlantis. I suggest you read a bit about Lemuria itself, as it will help you further understand the theme of the album and Gary's vision. With that little background info out the way, lets get to the actual Lemuria that exists.

From the very beginning of the first track "Last Day." which starts off very quiet, just a few piano keys play as Gary repeats "My insanity will save humanity"as the beat transitions in, chaos takes over and Gary narrates the beginning of his and the listener's journey. The change is very drastic and a sudden, the chorus takes it even further and then suddenly just as it began, it ends with Gary repeating "My insanity will save humanity" as the piano plays in the background. As you'll notice as I get further in this review, at times the tracks of Lemuria. do a incredible job at placing you in Gary's mindset. I honestly felt and could visualize the feeling and school setting of "Last Day.", one thing Lemuria. is, is relatable I think we all have a story such as this.

One thing that is apparent is the aquatic theme of Lemuria. from the album's name itself to the tracks such as "Underwater.", "Mermaid." and "Ocean Floor." all help to expand on the story of Lemuria. and help to further push the feeling that Gary is descending into the land of Lemuria. However, "Ocean Floor." excels at this more than others. Gary has finally reached Lemuria. and describes it, in all it's beauty and the citizens of it. The second verse however plays on the thought that maybe Lemuria is just that a thought, and that it could a possibly be in Gary's mind. The sample of Bomberman Hero OST's "Milky", which is simply amazing and the fact that the song itself was already awesome but Gary is able to flip it and turn it into something that is equal to or better is truly what impresses me. Also, the distortion of the vocals on the track make it sound as if it was recorded under water in which the track takes place. All of these pieces help to create a experience no other track released this year sans "Book of Soul" and "Sing About Me" has given me as a listener. 

The rest of the album follows Gary on his journey, on "Welcome To Acropolis!" Samurai finds the city of Acropolis and learns he is one of "The Chosen." that has to save humanity. "ERROR!" which features the lone guest spot from fellow DPF member Levi Watson, who delivers an excellent guest verse and reveals to Gary that he was merely dreaming and that Lemuria was simply just that, a dream and that he still is at school something that Gary can't comprehend. On "Waiting Room.", Samurai finally comes to grip with the fact that Lemuria was a state of mind and "Freedom." is a celebration of sorts, Gary rejoices that he is finally free from Lemuria and reflects on what has happened during his "stay" there and how he has grown from it. 

Lemuria. is a true testament to the story telling abilities of Gary Samurai, something that has become a lost art in Rap/Hip-Hop recently aside from Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city. Even though both albums are completely different, they both share the element of a story being told. However, in Kendrick's case it benefited from the skits that were featured on the album, which undoubtedly helped to tell Kendrick's story. The story of Lemuria. on the other hand, was strictly driven off the strength of the music and Gary's ability to convey his experience to the listener. Which I find highly impressive and it is the reason why I would go as far as to say that Lemuria. was the best story told in Rap/Hip-Hop in 2012. 

I would highly recommend anyone reading this to give this album a listen if you haven't already. The story is amazing and who knows maybe your interpretation of Lemuria. is different from mine. Salute to Gary for being able to create something so incredible and I look forward to hearing what the young man does in the future. 

Download or stream Lemuria. below