Ill Funk Ensemble - The Duality
by Scott Taylor
(Calgary, AB, Canada)
The Duality CD
The Ill Funk Ensemble's singer/producer BJ FitzGerald and rapper/freestyle extraordinaire Jermaine Wells are sitting on something really special.
“The Duality” is the title of Ill Funk's esteemed album and it will satisfy you to the core. This is the kind of album that I would show to somebody who doesn't normally listen to rap because this isn't just a rap album. This is a forray into a wide range of styles that are cleverly utilized by this Albany-based unit.
“Afraid of Heights” is a punchy, phat track that will have you bouncing your head and up and down, whether you want to or not. It's so catchy it's ridiculous; which funky guitar chords, some wicked solo work, and Jermaine's signature smooth rapping style; which has a rapid fire progression that wil leave you marvelling over his talent. You'll find yourself repeating this track more than once, it's just that good.
“The Streetbeater” also has this same kind of flair; upbeat with resonant hi hats punctuating the catchy beats. It also contains a sample that some fans of seventies shows will recognize immediately.
“Hot Crazy Good Love” is a sultry bit, churning with elements of smooth nineties hip hop with some great singing that reminded of Boyz 2 Men. It's relaxing to listen to and further concretes Ill Funk's stature of being very talented musicians, not just rap artists.
“Find A Way” is a very uplifting track with a great message. This is the kind of song to listen to when you've had a bad day at the office, or a bad break-up, or simply lost the will to push forward. I love songs like this, because they're so few and far between in an industry that favours hatred, greed, lust and money. I would like to personally thank the Ill Funk Ensemble for not conforming to such a burdensome norm.
“She's Fearless” is a great track about simply respecting our parents; the ones who brought us into this world and helped us find our strengths so we can become better individuals. The rhyming is fairly simple, but the mood and flavour of the track is what really counts.
You'll find that most of the songs in this record are of a positive nature; with themes like self awareness, personal growth, respect and appreciation. To me, these are crucial elements to delve into, as where would most artists be if they couldn't appreciate the people and experiences that made them who they are today?
The beats and music are top notch. Great sample usage truly accentuates Jermaine's sometimes astonishing rhyme and structure. The title track, “The Duality,” Is dark, yet hopeful, with an epic sample that many mainstream fans should recognize immediately. I loved this track, and listened to it three times before sitting down to write this review.
The Ill Funk Ensemble has cemented my desire to seek out more rap artists that expand their horizons and shun musical boundaries. I think that's the only way musicians can grow; and I'm pretty sure that Ill Funk stands tall and will continue to do so. Buy this album and support a truly talented unit. You won't be disappointed.
More information on Ill Funk Ensemble here.
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About The Writer
My name is Andrew Muller. I love creative art, music, television shows, movies, video games, and a good story.
If you had to find me somewhere, you would probably find me down at O'neils home cooking eating an organic sweet-potato bun breakfast sandwich with ham.
Among my friends, it's a "Muller Classic Move" to eat Mcdonald's at 2am because it's cheap and open 24/7. The joke here is that I'm an idiot.
I play drums, guitar, piano, and I write & perform music for My Goal Is Telepathy. Take a listen to the latest sound here.