Review : PEP LOVE - Rigmarole
Hip Hop DXA stain on the shared Hip Hop experience has been the glass ceiling placed above musical creativity, as artists who break free of already set molds are generally overlooked and almost discarded altogether. The West Coast's underground scene has maintained an exhausting fight for recognition, perceived as unorthodox in juxtaposition with pioneers of California's formerly ubiquitous Gangsta Rap. A most notably thriving symbol of this battle has been the Bay Area's Hieroglyphics crew, who have played a salient role in branding a distinct sound centered around off kilter flows and layman rhymes for nearly two decades. Pep Love is but one of Hiero's socially aware unit, hoping to further their consistently progressive legacy with his latest release Rigmarole.
Rigmarole's weakness stems from a longwinded monotony, as the album lags at points and the core of Pep Love's vocal delivery is an acquired taste, often boosted by the strength of the album's production. Long-term devotees stand a greater chance of being thrilled than first time listeners who may consider the emcee a hard sell, despite his respectable merits of holding true to Hip Hop's authentic cultural mores without dumbing down....full text
ExclaimAfter an 11-year gap between albums (his last was 2001's Ascension), Pep Love (one of the original members of legendary Oakland underground crew Hieroglyphics) is back with his latest solo project. Rigmarole chronicles the struggles Pep went through and the obstacles he overcame in order to grow as a person and artist, in order to push out his latest effort, which captures the MC on point on a record that brings the listener back to the essence of hip-hop. Check out single "Hip Hop, My Friend," which has Pep writing a poignant love letter to the art form he's made his life's work over a soulful backbeat full of vintage horns. Whether he's spitting about the tour life over a Middle-Eastern-flavoured head nodder ("Everywhere") or puffing his chest out with cohort Opio on the breezy funk of "Can't Nobody Do It Like Us," despite the rigmarole it took to get here, the end result of Pep Love's efforts speak for themselves on this dope listen....full text
Kevin NottinghamPep Love, known to the mayor of Oakland as Paulo Peacock, has been an esteemed member of the even more esteemed Hieroglyphics crew that left their imprint on the structure of West Coast Hip Hop beginning in the early ‘90s. Since their heyday, Pep Love has released a handful of albums with The Rigmarole marking his fifth solo venture. It should come as no surprise that he sounds a little different than the carefree Pep of yesteryear. And though the desire for mischief may have left his soul, the desire to make music that matters still remains.
The Rigmarole runs deep with 17 tracks clocking in at a little over an hour. The show starts with “Runaway Slave” as Pep Love rattles off his bars and sounds determined to let the audience know that he’s still got it. Otayo Dubb chimes in and sounds nice, although the sinewy beat helps both parties while Knobody, best known for his production skills, steps in to help with “Top O’ the Morning.” If there’s one flaw with Pep Love’s rapping, it’s that his delivery remains more or less the same throughout every song. Don’t get me wrong, he sounds very nice more often than not but a little variety wouldn’t hurt....full text
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