Album Review: Lewis Parker & John Robinson – International Summers

Album Review: Lewis Parker & John Robinson – International Summers
Project Mooncircle: 2010

On the surface, it appears as if Lewis Parker and John Robinson had created an opus that paid homage to the summer — those sweltering three months beginning in June when nightlife booms and students enjoy time away from school. In fact, it would’ve been appropriate, if not somewhat safe, to release an album dedicated to such a widely regarded season. Instead, International Summers is not about that: “It’s a celebration of the revival of that warm feeling you used to get … when you [heard] those next level hip-hop vibes pumping in your speakers,” according to the album’s introduction.

To that end, Parker and Robinson achieve their goals, especially since International Summers sounds like a true celebration of hip-hop that is brutally honest and refreshingly nostalgic. This album, however, ultimately stalls from sporadic moments of tedium and an overall lack of cohesiveness. Although there is good material captured on this recording, it sounds more like a collection of songs without the necessary binding agent to hold the mixture together.

Parker’s and Robinson’s passion for music is abundantly evident, however, and it won’t take long for listeners to realize the same thing. Take the title track, for example, a mid-tempo boom bap in which the emcees discuss the joys of traveling abroad while staying connected to their respective hometowns. Their flair for the passport continues on the next song, the aptly titled “Planes Trains Automobiles”, which is driven by its quiet, yet persistent piano-laced production. A song like “Warrior Princess”, which is an ode to the urban queen, stands out because of the Dilla-esque snap of its drum programming. On “Dues Paid”, Parker warns aspiring artists about the pitfalls of the music industry.

All told, unfortunately, the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts. International Summers is an album full of respectable songs about romance, international affairs and raw lyricism, but it feels more like a compilation or mixtape than an actual album. With that said, International Summers is definitely worth a purchase for those wishing to revisit the summer all year long.

★★★☆☆
3 out of 5

2 thoughts on “Album Review: Lewis Parker & John Robinson – International Summers

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  1. eli ramseys the pharoah|

    I personally don’t mean any disrespect , but I think there was a “Pothole in your blog” ( pun intended ) ! I bought the album and one thing was ,and is evident , John and Lewis gave a real , sincere and honest effort to come with concepts and stay on target for the most part … It was a breath of fresh air when I heard the song “Godz illa”, that was the best posse cut I have heard in like forever !! We all strive for perfection or what we percieve “perfection” to be , but a classic is a classic !! And here seems to be , another classic that won’t get its just due !! People lets support the real good music !! WE ALL SAY THAT WE LOVE HIP HOP , SO WE ALL SHARE THE RESPONSIBILITY !! PEACE !!! 4 outta 5 stars !!!

  2. I dunno man, J.R. explains what International Summers means in the intro and the vibe stays on-topic throughout. I actually picked up this album after reading this review. I’d never heard anything by Lewis Parker until today and didn’t see anyone else on here say anything about this LP. You say it sounds more like a compilation or a mixtape but i have to disagree. None of these songs sound like fillers or incomplete ideas to me… in fact, none of it sounds out of place. Sure I have my favorites on here but overall, J.R.’s rhymes & Lewis Parker’s production/vocal-assists are the “binding agents” from song-to-song. I’m glad i listened to this, I think it deserves a higher rating as well.

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