Friday, March 13, 2009

The Last Emperor - Music, Magic, Myth

The Last Emperor is the moniker of Philly-native Jamal Gray, a college-graduate who quickly took hold in the hip-hop scene by engaging in open mic nights -- word of mouth traveled quickly, earning Emp a guest-verse on the song "C.I.A." with KRS-ONE & Zach De La Rocha. His good fortune continued to climb; hip-hop mogul Dr. Dre momentarily took Emp under his wing, but due to certain circumstances, didn't fly far (which Emp recounts on the song, "Hold On").

After a few more record-label mishaps, Gray co-started his own label with his brother, distributed through Raptivism, finally green-lighting his 2003 debut-album, '
Music, Magic, Myth'.

The album intro describes the current state of affairs, specifically, the dominance of wack-MC's running rampant throughout the world, to which Emp answers the call to take the power back (Zach De La Rocha not included).

Really chill album that still shows its fangs when appropriate -- and Emp's lyricism and voice really grow on you (
you being the universal me). There's a few tracks I didn't feel as much, but some tracks are essential hip-hop ("Animalistics", "Karma", "Tiger Trail")...for his debut album, Emp proved he's up-to-snuff, and not some literate back-packer wanting to hear his own voice.

Another full-length should be surfacing this year, '
Wizard's Wardrobe'.

Music, Magic, Myth
mind the graves