On this week’s edition of Bucketlist’s “Bi-polar Reviews” segment, myself (Lee Ferguson) and fellow Bucketlist writer Talia Plante are shedding some of our own skin to take on Road to Ouroboros, the latest release from rapper Lil Brick. Unlike the mythological Ouroboros, I was not stricken with a sense of rebirth, or fully consumed by this EP. And while the rap genre is by no means my favourite style of music, perhaps Talia is more of an aficionado than myself. We at Bucketlist always pride ourselves on having a diverse and eclectic sensibility towards music. Hence follows my most humble thoughts and opinions on this piece.
The opener on Road to Ouroboros “Energy,” is without much competition my favourite track on the EP. This project survives on Lil Brick’s ability to rap and falters hard on most other components. “Energy” features the lone redeeming melody on the EP, a mellow and more sensual 90’s R&B throwback that hits like an Usher or Boys II Men crossover track. Featuring Alex Jay and Yo’ shiyah ‘Asre on this track was a shrewd decision as they have great vocal rapport with Lil Brick. The track hinges on a deep bass groove and enough percussive force to compliment but not over take the vocals.
The subsequent three tracks do not hit on any mark. Lil Brick steps up to the free throw line and as his name suggests drops three bricks. “At War” is a commentary on the present day societal hardships, “Three, Two one, Blast off, We at war, Keep your mask on.” In theory this could be a banger chorus, but it falls incredibly short as a result of poor production value. The hip hop scene can be unforgiving if you don’t have great studio chops; certain aesthetics in the rock scene can help you get by with that raw, DIY production and sound, but with rap and hip hop it is tantamount to have that professionally produced sound and Lil Brick has a ways to go. “Eagled Eyed” and “Forever Freestyle” don’t require much attention. Repetitive and uninteresting mumble rap, the lyrical content leaves much to be desired.
Lil Brick may have lit a spark with that opening track but it’s quickly blown out by the following three. This is however an EP -, often a format to hash things out, discover your sound and work out some of those kinks. I believe if Lil Brick has a shot, it lies within the aura of “Energy,” as well as getting a stronger team behind him in terms of producing, mixing and mastering his tracks.
Riding on the same note as Lee, I really can’t help letting the hate flow through me on this one. Lil Brick seems to have an intent with the release of Road to Ouroboros, but continually misses several marks and offers us nothing short of an awkward and seemingly pointless record.
Clearly agreeing with Lee on the our first track named “Energy,” there seems to be a comfortable start in a very 90s direction that peaks the interest almost immediately. However, we’re hit with awkward lyrics that don’t really make me want to shed clothes and enter into an evening of steamy fun (Lee: sounds like a regular Wednesday night for me, but I feel you on this). A little out of tune, and a little regressive in terms of musical advancement.
Hardly flowing into the next three tracks, “At War” sheds the obvious light on today’s worlds scenario, but is most definitely a through and through failure. This track is constantly painful to listen to, with a near-constant grab back into the land of being totally out of tune. The lyrical work seems to be a little childish on this one as well, leaving me completely depleted of what I should have after listening to any record. “Eagle Eyed” seems to hit a little bit different, reminding me of Tyler the Creator vibes, leaning on simplicity effectively giving the lyrical work a bit more of a spotlight. Unfortunately, this relative high point doesn’t last as “Forever Freestyle” falls into a more redundant category, (yes, I know, why does the metalhead get a say on rap being redundant? Because music is music, that’s why) (Lee: Lil Talia with the mic drop) and the lyrical work goes back to the same topics we’ve heard about incessantly from most new rappers.
Road to Ouroboros could have been short and sweet, but missed the mark on the sweet part, feeling a bit lazy and incomplete. Apparently wanting to release music without really excelling at the quality control aspect of making artwork, isn’t the forte nowadays. There is almost always room for improvement and betterment in one’s own craft.
Written by Lee Ferguson & Talia Plante
*Edited by Dominic Abate