When you hear about Collective Efforts in Hip-Hop, the obvious comes to mind; sure you have your Jaylib, DangerDOOM, and to more extremes, your Wu-Tang Clan, EPMD, etc. But when you hear about Collective Efforts, the group that hails from Atlanta, Ga., consisting of three rapper-producers, one DJ, and a lush backing band, you end up getting an interesting result. You get Freezing World, the fourth effort from this group. Whereas the other efforts have largely proven to be your standard hip-hop affair (not that there’s anything wrong with that), this record serves as more of a mission statement with a more potent backing.
In the course of the record’s adventurous 60 minutes, you get lively bongos, deep and rich drums, and instrumentation that is groovy, yet soulful, but you get a curve ball. In place of the happy lyrics that would usually be placed amongst such a backing, you get somewhat melancholy, introspective lyrics that are peering into the soul, heavily analytical of the world around their backing and not letting go of what appears to be a somewhat bittersweet struggle, filled with with tales of lessons learned from trials and tribulations. You can hear it in the vocals of “So Cold,” with its mildly paced rhythm, and “Try Again” where Eli Sweet provides a soulful backing to the reflection that Collective Efforts drops. However, you can also hear bouts of inspiration as well when you hear tracks like “This Far,” “Time To Grow” and the lead-off single, “I Get Down”.
In terms of lyrics, it is quite an introspective yet melancholy affair. Trials and tribulations, as well as many bouts of ruminations surround Collective Efforts, and for the most part they are expressed very poignantly and honestly. Their vocals are largely subdued for a majority of the tracks on the album, but they do know for the most part when to let something ride from the band, and when to let loose. For example this is best utilized when it comes down to the raw elements such as “Winterlude” which serves as a nice break/precedence for when the record has reached its central point, or when the record reaches its somber ending in “See What You Find”, acoustic guitars wonderfully strummed and faded chants. In the end, Freezing World ends up being several things to several people. But it is definitely a work that reminds you of an ending workday in the dead of winter, sunset fading at about 4 or 5 p.m., and you put this record in, and just enjoy what the night has to offer.