Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
Back in May, I was highly complimentary of Lou Siffa, an up and coming hip hop artist and rapper. I tackled two of his singles and thought they were quite good, especially in regard to their lyrical and productional value. I even remarked that some of his work can stand on its own powerfully against the best of industry-grade content. Thus, I had hopes delving into his new record, ‘The Book Of Lou Siffa.’ Does it hold up to my expectations? Let’s check it out.
For the purposes of this review, Siffa provided me with six of the ten tracks ahead of the album’s release. While it doesn’t have an exact date, ‘The Book Of Lou Siffa’ is expected shortly, along with a slew of promo commercials on Radio Invasion FM.
‘Burn Baby Burn’ opens up the record after an introductory track. Firstly, no, this is not a ‘Disco Inferno’ cover. (Thank God; that would be terrible.) Instead, it’s a dark rap piece with brief instrumental backing. “It’s too god damn dark to turn back around,” Siffa declares over a brooding, atmospheric backdrop. Siffa’s delivery is the best I’ve heard from him yet. He slyly moves from each well-written verse to the next, even supplemented briefly by a John F. Kennedy sample toward the end.
‘Novus Ordo’ has a similar sonic feel to ‘Burn Baby Burn,’ but it’s also far more upbeat. There’s still something apocalyptic about Siffa’s lyricism, though. Losing your religion, martial law, death, and so forth... all present in the peculiar landscape that is ‘Novus Ordo.’ Siffa creates a sense of urgency quite unlike any other performer; ‘Do you smell gasoline?! I smell gasoline!’
‘Forever N Always’ offers some much needed retribution and positivity. It’s a beautiful song, arguably the best of the six we’re covering. It’s a gorgeous ballad to his children. Actually, I’d align it very closely with Bob Dylan’s ‘Forever Young.’ It’s a modernized version of the ballad, contemporizing Dylan’s parental wisdom forty years later. If there’s one track to immediately head to on this album, it’s ‘Forever N Always.’
Right, so let’s touch on the final three tunes. ‘I See The Truth’ is a piano-lead powerhouse, one that grows intensely as it progresses. Once it explodes, it does so in a Phil Spector-esque spectacle - absolutely fantastic. “I Can’t Breathe’ is a poignant piece taking its namesake from the Eric Garner incident. It incorporates some soul and R&B influence, and elegantly so. Finally, ‘America America’ closes Lou Siffa’s book of wisdom with an immensely satisfying hip hop romp. The political charge of this album is particularly refreshing, especially in regard to Siffa’s commentary on modern social issues.
‘The Book Of Lou Siffa’ is one that aspiring indie hip hop artists should all take a page out of. It’s a well-spoken, well-produced, hip hop endeavor that’s recurringly fruitful, entertaining, and thought-provoking. Siffa has raised to an entirely new level than the one I acclaimed earlier this year. Check out the album when it debuts.
Lou Siffa: http://www.lousiffa.com/