Mars Ill is one of the best underground acts out there. They're just special. Manchild, the MC, his wordplay and driving force on the mic is just special. He's got skills. His partner on the decks, DJ Dust, does not go the usual route of production of other rap teams, he uses more instrumentation, raw samples, and more harder snares to make a more organic sound.
This third album continues Mars Ill tradition of giving your audio senses a sdose of holy hip-hop and creative rhymes that take you on a journey to Hip-Hop University. Manchild's rhyming is very versatile, creative, and really great for your mind. The ATL duo gives you something special in album 3.
Song hits are "Sound Off," where he spits an inspirational verse for you to be vocal in tongue and in heart, "More," featuring Ahmad Jones, tells like it is: let's get more out of life instead of accepting for less. Jones' verse on the song is just straight up hot and really complements Manchild's style as both have very distinct styles of spitting verses. Then, check out the song "Effortless," which is produced by someone else, which has a more simplified, but really hard beat.
This is a great album for your mind and just a solid production.
Hip-Hop at its best ... truly up there with Eminem and Run DMC
In part because Mars Ill falls into the "Christian" rap category, they've gone largely unnoticed. Well, it's time to NOTICE them. While the underground feel remains intact, these guys continue to deliver incredibly insightful and intelligent lyrics. Not only do they deliver them, they do so with some of the best beats I've ever heard in hip-hop. These guys are miles ahead of their genre.
"The Future Sound on the Back of the Classics"
Mars Ill is composed of rapper manCHILD and DJ Dust. The album has a real underground feeling to it, which works very well. Dust lays down some really impressive beats, with "Sound Off" being a great example. In hip-hop, I am often bothered by beats that are boring and far too repetitive, and those that are far too noisy and obnoxious and take away from the track, but Dust never does this, and not a single track is just plain obnoxious. manCHILD raps at the same level as Eminem, and really deserves to be on the top, but probably will never be because of the "Christian" label. Lyrically he is very impressive, all the flow feels natural and interesting. He really carries the album along. Here's a track by track review:
Pro Pain: A clever into that sets the tone to the album
Say So: A solid track. Spoken choruses often run the risk of being boring and repetitive, but this song pulls it off well.
Sound Off: Showcases Dust's awesome ability. The beat is fill with blaring trumpets, and is one of the strongest tracks on the album.
Too Strong to Change: A fairly good track, if I wanted to nitpick, the chorus is fairly repetitive (though it is not obnoxious, and not a problem), and the featured rapper's performance is a little on the weak side.
Dog Eared Page: A good faster song. A very catchy chorus.
More: A standout track. The featured rapper's performance is excellent, and manCHILD and Dust never miss a step.
Just the Two of Us: A sort of filler track. I find myself skipping it often.
Stand Back and Watch: A very catchy piano-driven song.
Wicked Ways: A great song, with a very cool sample driving the chorus.
Saturday Night Special: The intro to the song is a little on the obnoxious side, but when manCHILD and the featured rapper hop in, the song gets great
Glam Rap: This song's chorus is slightly obnoxious, and I would say it's weakest on the album
Higher: A filler song, though still interesting
Effortless: This is a solid song, but I find myself forgetting about it more than any of the others.
Write of Passage: a very impressive performance from the manCHILD and the featured rappers
When Heaven Scrapes the Pavement: an interesting story song. A cool listen.
I Is: another good tune with interesting lyrics to carry the record home.
Outro: This simply carries the album out
All in all, the record is very impressive, as the album is strong from beginning to end. This is definitely worth getting as soon as you can. You will not regret it.