Album Review: Eternia & MoSS – At Last

Eternia & MoSS – At Last
Fat Beats: 2010

Canada’s Eternia routinely goes unfairly unmentioned among the best female emcees in the game.  She doesn’t have the quirkiness or commercial hype of say, a Nicki Minaj; rather her style and delivery are heavily reminiscent of that of a battle rapper. At Last, entirely produced by MoSS, shows that while she has the ability to spit lines you’d hear while standing in the cypher, she’s also got a deeper, serious side that comes out in her music that can remind listeners of Slug’s work as the MC part of Atmosphere.  Wrap this part-battle rapper, part-graphic real life storyteller in the body of a white Canadian female, and somehow you’ve got a winning combination, evidenced by a 2006 Juno nomination for Rap Recording of the Year for her debut, It’s Called Life.

At Last goes from entertaining to dark, from wordplay and bravado to issues ranging from her experiences with alcoholism and sexual abuse.  For every good time had while listening to the lyrical exercises like the Joell Ortiz-assisted “It’s Funny” and “The BBQ” (which gets absolutely ripped by Rah Digga and the Lady of Rage), there’s a serious counterbalance that comes in the form songs like “Pass That” and “To the Future”.  Eternia doesn’t use these serious moments to throw herself a pity party, though, as these songs can act as triumph over some pretty serious demons, as she’s able to put some pretty serious issues on record. The album follows a formula made familiar by Rhymesaysers rappers Slug and Brother Ali, as their albums have also featured great production and lyricism, and specifically a raw look into MC’s personal lives that presents a reality that Eternia herself points out: “We’re not stars, we’re people.”  It’s an honest attempt to connect with listeners on a deeper level, and while it may drive some away, those who do become engaged gain a deeper appreciation for it, either through identification with her or an appreciation of her honesty and confidence in facing her past.

The album is structured with the serious topics at the middle and end, as listeners are roped in by the impressive lyricism and energy exhibited in the beginning tracks and are taken on a serious ride after those end, whether they like it or not. The album’s title itself can be seen as Eternia declaring her freedom from these demons, “at last.” She exudes confidence, and MoSS does a good job of capturing her energy and translating it into his production. While there may have been times where I wasn’t thrilled (looking at you, “Catch Me”), at no point was I ever really bored, as MoSS knew he had to match her energy. While the production is mostly solid throughout, there isn’t anything revolutionary. Couple that with some of the album’s darker themes, and there are issues with replay value.  However, Eternia shows that, at last, she deserves to be mentioned among the most talented female emcees out there.

★★★½☆
3.5 out of 5
[audio:http://potholesinmyblog.flywheelsites.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/05-eternia_and_moss-the_bbq_feat._rah_digga_and_rage.mp3|titles=Eternia & MoSS – The BBQ]

7 thoughts on “Album Review: Eternia & MoSS – At Last

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  1. willmofo|

    Overall I love this album! I really never listen to what anyone says about music. I always give things a listen on my own. Big ups to this site for giving props to such many great artists and great music!

  2. If you look at the industry, sure emcees who happen to be women are few. But on an indie level, there’s a LOT of quality emcees who are women. I like to just call them emcees. Because I don’t say “white rapper” or “asian rapper” and they are few on a mainstream industry level (minority if you will) but plenty on the indie. It’s just a thought. Peace.

  3. and lol @ Captain. I agree. I wasn’t feeling that Marco Polo too much myself. The rating is all a matter of opinion though, so whatever. haha.

  4. Word, I feel that for sure. It’s most definitely dominated by men, and that’s understandable. Sucks that it has to be like that though. That isn’t up to us though, it’s up to the females really. Maybe one day. We’ll see haha.

  5. Fred Castano|

    Glad u brought that up Emay (whatup though!)

    I debated between throwing “female” before “MCs” for the reasons you brought up. Hip-hop is a man’s world, the female rapper is far and few between. Take a look at the scene right now. Lauryn Hill is crazy and may or may not be retired. Nicki Minaj may not be for everybody. Lil Kim and Foxy were doing time. Ladybug Mecca I lost track of, so if she’s done anything somebody please tell me.

    I think the reason I left “female” in is because they are a minority group in an industry that I think is kind of stacked against them. And when someone who is in the minority group excels, it deserves special mention, especially when she’s doing it with actual thought-provoking skill instead of “My Neck, My Back.” We’re likely to keep using this qualifier until female rappers constitute about 40% of the rappers out there, which I don’t think we’ll see in our lifetimes.

  6. I agree with Emay. The ladies haven’t had to struggle for positions since Lyte & Latifah. I think the subject only remains because there’s never been a balance between dope male & dope female MC’s. So I’ll continue by passing the unbiased judgment.

    This album’s good. Eternia bigs herself up a lot and almost rhymes with the same intensity on every song – which makes it hard at times to separate the heartfelt from the spit. But I dig her voice, mic presence and honesty. I wish more chicks would tell dudes in the beginning, “look, i’m a nut-case and you don’t need this in your life right now.” I can respect that. I also think Moss did a nice job on the beats. I liked this album a lot more than i liked Marco Polo’s “Stupendous” LP and he got a 4-rating on here.

  7. This might sound kind of weird, but I just don’t understand why we still categorize female mc’s as if they’re their own group or something. I think they should get judged like any other rapper, regardless of race or gender. I’m not saying Fred is doing this review based on her being female at all (I completely agree with the review), but I think it’s the same as saying “so and so rapper definitely stands out amongst the white mc’s”. It’s pretty obvious that the individuals skin colour or gender is visible, but I just think we should call everyone an mc, or not an mc. Maybe I’m just bored and feel like rambling, I don’t know. lol.

    This album is dope though, respects to both Eternia & MoSS for putting this together.

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