Eden Pearlstein may be a new name to some in the world of hip-hop, but he’s not new to the genre. Known better as Eprhyme, he has been rocking stages and making music with a keen sense of who he is for over a decade, proselytizing what hip-hop should and can represent, all while not putting his Jewish faith on the side. In fact, his faith is his musical and spiritual core, and like many who take on the same path, one can never be too far from the other. While some listeners may be put off by someone delivering scripture or beliefs over beats, Eprhyme has never been like that, or at least it has never come off as something other than an important element of his being. With Dopestylevsky, hip-hop fans are hearing someone who continues to develop as an artist and an individual, but who has done so with the confidence that the path he has taken is one chosen wisely.
Here’s what Dopestylevsky is not: an album that falls into the traps of what the industry tries to turn hip-hop into. If there are any facades on this music, Eprhyme is there to say it’s time for you to peel and reveal your true self. Lyrically, he can be very much about the party rhymes, and when I say that I mean the old school, basement jam rhymes, not ones where you are relevant because of what liquor you’re drinking. There’s a richness in what this MC writes and rhymes, and as with some of the best rappers out there, there’s a venom in what he says that is truly remarkable. Okay, maybe venom might be interpreted as something evil or sinister, so let me say that Eprhyme chooses his words like a scientist who knows the formula, but hopes by offering more input he’ll reveal things that get closer to the heart of that which he speaks. What he speaks of part of the time is being true to one’s self and another, because anything else isn’t worthy.
Those who read the last paragraph are probably thinking, “Damn, this Eprhyme has an ego on him,” or, “Still sounds way too heady for me, as if he’s holier than thou,” and that’s far from what I hear. What Eprhyme does is not any different from some of the golden era MCs who shared their personal beliefs mixed in with cleverness and humor. Eprhyme is not a comedic rapper but some elements of his songs, such as “Notes From The Underground,” “Grind Thoroughly,” and “Lose Your Cool,” are examples of someone who is willing to let his guard down a bit without being perceived as being overly serious. In “Life Sentence,” when he says, “From cannabis to amethyst, calculus to manuscripts / Welcome to the garden where divine inspired madness lives,” you can sense he’s speaking of the garden of a mind, which leads to him revealing, “I am a pacifist trapped in the mind of a masochist.” A bit of the yin-yang that is a lot more global than anything the Ying Yang Twins ever admitted in their music. This self-proclaimed not-average kid is reciprocal in that while he has learned from the book of life and experience, he in turn is teaching or at least telling listeners his own stories and how they can lead people to a place they can call their own, whatever that may mean to them. In other words, Eprhyme isn’t the king or monarch of any territory, just a mere messenger who is more than happy to offer a healthy exchange of thoughts through his music.
As for the production, some of these tracks could easily be mixed in with tracks by Diplo, Pitbull, and Lykke Li, alongside the works of DJ Premier, Pete Rock, and Chief Xcel. I enjoy hearing someone who enjoys the music they drop rhymes on, and not doing it because it would be an opportunity to be heard within established formulas. There’s that word again: formula. Perhaps I should use it one more time to make a point. Infants are sometimes given formulas as a means of important nourishment, and Eprhyme offers some much needed nourishment of the mind, body, and soul with Dopestylevsky. Or maybe this album is a cleansing that hip-hop across the board needs, or at least that section of hip-hop that continues to suffocate itself in the club. Eprhyme is a nice breath of clarity that isn’t the exception to any specific rule, just hip-hop music at its best.Visit: Eprhyme | K Records
Purchase: Insound | eMusic