Album Review: Moe Pope – Life After God

Moe Pope – Life After God
Brick Records: 2010

Ah, Boston. It’s the last place in America where you can get into a fistfight without fear of someone pulling the biscuit out the oven to tilt the odds in their favor.  The hip-hop concerts were so buckwild, rappers stopped doing shows there out of safety concerns. But when they’re not busy stabbing their best basketball player and not pronouncing their R’s, Boston can produce some pretty good rappers, including Guru, Reks, Edo G, and Benzi- I mean, um, nevermind. Also hailing from Boston is Moe Pope, formerly of Mission/Crown City Rockers and Project Move, who has been touted by URB as the “Best Rapper in Boston.” I’m not ready to start crowning him yet, as I think Reks makes fantastic music and Grey Hairs was easily one of 2008’s best albums. However, Moe Pope deserves to be mentioned in the same breath off the strength of Life After God, his latest album, produced entirely by Rain with the exception of one Headnodic beat.

Life After God is experimental, yet familiar, in that it contains many key elements of that true-school hip-hop that we all know and love, such as jazz samples, boom bap, and rock music. Rain uses these influences as purely inspiration rather than imitation, a skill that a lot of these beatmakers out here are lacking. Moe holds up his end of the bargain, as he, too, draws from rap’s rich history to fuel his rhymes. The last verse on “Rock Me I” is a tribute to hip-hop legends and does a thorough job of listing off some of hip-hop’s most memorable symbols that are unique to the culture. Favorites include “Freeway’s beard,” “Nas’ pen,” and “the eagle on Ghostface’s wrist.” Coupled with “Rock Me II”, both tracks bring a positive vibe that strives to capture what we love about hip-hop

Technically speaking, Moe is equally impressive in that he has FLOW. His style is reminiscent of AZ, he seems to have total control of what he’s saying and he just rolls right along in “Foolish,” which features fellow talented Bostonian Reks. Rain does an excellent job in providing Moe with a sound that is equal parts golden-age hip-hop and experimental, as some of the beats dip their toes into trip-hop. As is the case with when I listen to trip-hop, the albums seem longer because of the sheer variety of sounds to listen to. Life After God seems that way as well, despite running a tidy 40 minutes. 40 minutes doesn’t leave much room for error, and the album only slips once (see “Bang Bang”), but a quick click of the “Next” button and you’re into the exceptionally jazzy  “Good Vibe II,” one of a handful of enjoyable musical interludes on the album.

Admittedly, Life After God took a couple of spins to appreciate (I’m always wary of albums that don’t have drugs and violence. It’s a personal bias). But upon further review, it’s a fine tip of the cap to the legends that came before Moe Pope and Rain. The album is chock-full of references and sound bites from classic tracks that hip-hop heads will catch and smile to themselves because they get it. Life After God isn’t exactly for the gangstas, but it’s certainly for the true-schoolers and is one of the stronger albums of the year so far.

4 out of 5

7 thoughts on “Album Review: Moe Pope – Life After God

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  1. Fred Castano|

    Say word!?!? I heard Boston was still the fistfight capital!

    I’m from Cali, born and raised. I work 2 blocks from the beach, I say “dude”, and haven’t seen snow since the Clipse tour stopped here

    I appreciate the props DL, thank you man. And yup, this is the Moe Pope from Project Move

  2. D.L. Chandler|

    Is this the same Moe Pope from Project Move? If so, I like dude a great freaking deal. I gotta peep this.

    Good writing, Fred. I wish I could do that style.


  3. For real. Boston’s got more biscuits than a KFC family value meal.

  4. Bang Bang is one of my favourites on the album, for what it’s worth. They saved the best till last though: Bullitt is the pick for me. He reminds me of Elzhi a lot of the time, hopefully he’ll start getting as much attention.

  5. Fred is DEFINITELY from Cali, Boston hasn’t been safe for fistfights in many, many years.

    Assholes with little girly pistols: they’re everywhere.

  6. You’d think he would be from Boston, but Fred’s from Cali.

  7. haha so I’m guessing Fred’s from Boston too… anyway interesting that there’s only one Headnodic beat considering how well their styles match up but looking forward to see what Rain can do. In any case anything that gets 4 potholes can’t be bad

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