Hype is a dangerous thing. It can camouflage an artist’s weaknesses and unreasonably inflate...
DJBooth Album Review
Creekwater has emerged from his native Atlanta with two keys things going for him: there may not be a more fitting name for a Southern rapper than Creekwater (his government name is Antoine Rogers), and his rhymes impressed Eminem enough to earn him a spot on the Shady Records roster. Now, after releasing several mixtapes and garnering lofty praise from such unlikely places as the Washington Post, Bobby finally appears ready to release his debut album, A Brilliant Mistake. In order to continue to build his, dare I say it, hype, he’s dropped The B.C. Era EP, a nine-track collection that’s a reminder that if you impress Eminem, you’re probably a damn good rapper.
I won’t lie to you. I underestimated Creekwater. I had him unfairly pegged as a mid-level rapper who was destined to languish in hip-hop purgatory, but halfway through the EP I realized that underneath all the toughness flowed a current of hidden lyricism. Just take Rainman, a slowly paced track that’s a surprising mixture of southern swagger and east coast-esque production. Creekwater has a way of drawing you in lyrical complexity like, “the white’s like a summer in the South Pole,” then dropping a well placed “motherf**ker” to remind you where he’s from. It’s a similar story on Not Yet, a cut that undercuts a subdued violin section with riding Southern production, resulting in a track that’s equal parts swagger and social consciousness. Creekwater is at his best on Not Yet, waxing eloquent about his newfound wealth without forgetting his people on the block who aren’t so lucky. It’s that combination of lyricism and hustle that’s drawn numerous comparisons between him and T.I., though Creekwater has a long way to go before he’s the King (right now he’s more like a knight, maybe an earl at best). From the introspective Not Too Late to the comic Calm Down, The B.C. Era is the EP of a man who has a lot of potential. If only he could turn potential into action.
If Creekwater’s going to truly rise above the masses he’s going to have some hit singles. Sorry folks, those are the rules. I didn’t make ‘em up. While nothing on The B.C. Era would likely have even an outside shot at making some noise on the radio, it does contain some hints at how BC would break through to a measure of mainstream success. (Then again, I’m In Miami Trick became a hit and I’d rather drink bleach than listen to that song, so what do I know.) Clouds is a Southern soaked banger along the lines of Dey Know, except instead of a borderline retarded Shawty Lo we get the melodically hard flow of Creekwater. Unfortunately, When I Go, the most overtly street joint on the EP, doesn’t fare nearly as well. The strip club bass line ironically strips Creekwater of his personality; he hasn’t quite figured out how to make his music truly move. Still, while The B.C. Era is only an appetizer, it’s more than good enough to add me to the list of people who are officially “eagerly awaiting” A Brilliant Mistake. Let’s just hope his debut album lives up to the hype.
DJBooth Rating - 3.5 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on Jan 22, 2009
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