Album Review: U-N-I & Ro Blvd – A Love Supreme (2009)
Rating: 3 out of 5 Potholes
In short, A Love Supreme is one of the greatest albums of all time. From “Acknowledgement” to “Psalm”, John Coltrane’s quartet produced a timeless classic.
(April Fools? No. That was just wack.)
U-N-I is comprised of Y-O and Thurzday, two young emcees hailing from Los Angeles, California. These flamboyant characters are nothing short of stylish, and their sophomore release entitled A Love Supreme is the vibrant pink icing on the cake. With the help of producer Ro Blvd, this album is a voyage down a synth/key-oriented rainbow road. You can imagine there are quite a few bumps along the way. No sugar high comes without its repercussions.
It is important to note that A Love Supreme is a very clean album. The delivery of the lyrics are crisp, and the production is in a West Coast state-of-mind. It didn’t take long to admire the simplicity of a track like “Supreme”; a bar’s worth of catchy synths and complimentary drums is all U-N-I is given to deliver the goods. “London Lauren” is another prime example of Ro’s impressive ability to slap together a relaxed piece of work for Y-O and Thurzday to attack. Though there are a few instances where this record is too pretty. “Hollywood Hiatus” will take you back – literally. The beat is a multi-layered cyclone, set to a slow motioned reverse. “Stylin’” is far from stylish – it comes off as weak and fragile via both the producer and the emcees.
This clean album does have one rotten apple though. It’s grimy, dirty, and raw. It also happens to be the best track on the record. I could not ask for more out of ”Pulp Fiction Part 1″. A narrator (Thurzday) tells the story of Mike (Y-O) and Cedric (Fashawn), two men who “plan to satisfy their hunger for wealth“. A badass guitar riff on one end. Scratchy keys on the other. Enticing story. Everything clicks.
I have a really tough time soaking up the conclusion of U-N-I’s A Love Supreme. Any of the last three tracks could equal one outro. The over-the-top cries from both “Black Sky” and “Halftime” put Kanye West’s “Pinocchio Story” to shame. If that’s not enough, the final two/three minutes of the album is pure story time (Which actually reminded me of Kanye’s “Last Call”). Don’t get me wrong though, it’s a nice sounding curtain call to a unique album. I just don’t hope these L.A. natives think they’ve made it far enough in the industry to be taking such a mellow approach to a finale. To each his/her own, though.
A Love Supreme is this, that, and a third. Y-O, Thurzday and Ro Blvd have created an album that covers a lot of different sound and material. It’s a stretch to call it versatile, though. No matter how badly these guys want to call themselves escapists of the stereotypical West Coast sound, I think they’re still in the mix. Regardless, it’s a good clean effort, and good clean fun.