Album Review: D.Black – Ali’Yah (2009)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Potholes
Ali’Yah holds a number of different meaning, all leading back to a spiritual basis of ascending and rising to the occasion. This title automatically triggers a signal of skepticism in my head. Will D.Black be successful in his presentation of a very personal aspect of his life, or will this be another distasteful attempt from a hip-hopper to be conscious? At least we knew the beats were going to be dope, especially with Jake One and Vitamin D handling the majority of the boards. Whether or not Black would step up to the plate lyrically was still the major question at hand.
With the two opening tracks, “What I Do” and “Yesterday”, it becomes apparent that D.Black has grown a significant amount from his past release, The Cause & Effect. Maturity is by far the standout theme throughout these tracks. With lines like, “New life, new day, new breathe, make moves, get through, do your best” from “Yesterday”, D.Black is no longer looking at his past wrongdoings, but rather the spiritual growth he has encountered in his life and what the future holds. He continues his mature drive, lending an inspirational hand on “Keep On Going”, a wonderful production from Vitamin D that urges the audience to continue to push no matter what obstacles they may face.
Black continues to share his insight on heavy hitting tracks like, “Blow The Trump”, another Vitamin D beat, which is filled with sound bites regarding the many fallacies of the world. While “The Return”, one of the Jake One bangers, gives us our first real glimpse at Blacks real hunger behind the mic, claiming it’s “the return of the great one”. All-in-all, everything seems to be going D’s way on Ali’Yah, unfortunately we do run into a few minor blunders.
While the content and focus definitely has it’s upside, it seems where D.Black lacks the most is within his ability to change things up. Although many of the songs do provide sincerity and acumen, it would have been nice to see Black differ the subject matter a bit more. Along with the inability to switch it up content wise, D’s delivery and flow also seem to lack any real diversity, becoming a bit tiresome by album’s end. It would have also been enjoyable to see a bit more action from Black on the hooks, and a little less from all the different R&B singers that appear. Not saying that some of the songs don’t go well with that sort of chorus, but it seems a tad forced on tracks like “The Return” and “Close To Yah”.
D.Black is by no means a lyrical prodigy, but he did succeed in putting together an album of sincerity and cohesiveness. An album that not only showcased his development as an artist, but his expansion as an individual through a spiritual medium. Now that the content and subject matter seems to be tuned quite nicely for D.Black, one can only hope that he continues his grind and works on the few missteps that were experienced during Ali’Yah.