Having lived in Minnesota all my life, I can honestly say I’m continuously blessed by our Hip-Hop scene in general. Every artist I’ve run into, I’ve been inspired by in one way or another. In ’98, it was (and continues to be) Rhymesayers Entertainment. Since then, I’ve forged friendships and bonds with folks who have transplanted to Minneapolis just because of the Hip-Hop scene here and the continuous love shown for everyone who’s willing to connect.
Well, in my own personal opinion, Witness, a transplant from Pennsylvania who moved to Minneapolis, is getting added to that list. The Everafter LP comes off the heels of three wonderfully produced and written EPs. The Everafter LP is the end of that series as Witness prepares a debut record, but regardless, the album itself is short, witty, and provides a soundscape reminiscent of the jazzy-era 90s of hip-hop, where groups like the Pharcyde, Digable Planets, and most notably A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul.
In 26 minutes, you get a notably reserved emcee, shedding his all into his music and his adventures. Where The Everafter LP succeeds is in its emotion and its personal narrative that Witness excels in. The detail is rich, and his efforts in making it cohesive are well documented, and the production is where that point is driven home. Emancipator, Mobb Robb, and even Witness himself contribute the soundscapes that eerily scream Minneapolis, but rooted in the East Coast. From the stark pianos in “Sunburns”, to the delightful guitar strums in “Watercolors”, it’s all here as a 10-track effort that is perfect for afternoons and evenings alike. Additionally, you get a fun little groove in such tracks as “Cheap Date (Dive Bar Blend)”, the head-nodding antics of “Home Tonight”, and the fast-moving “Two Step”.
Beats aside, Witness is very much of the storytelling school of thought. The depictions in love lost (“Two Steps”), his stomach being filled with restaurant fried chicken, or Republicans being bad kissers (“Home Tonight”), Witness leaves nary a detail lost, which is a trait that most folks would fiend for in an MC. Even on the track “Holden Caufield”, which features Unsung, Witness is more than capable of holding his own ground. Regardless of features though, it’s refreshing to hear Witness hold it down on his own, and each track is a piece of soul being unveiled. Aside from “Sunburn,” every track is within the two-minute mark, and it isn’t the least bit overbearing. Not to mention, the smooth vocals that Witness provides is every bit as relaxing as it is refreshing.
It’s rare to come across a release as quaint and exploratory as The Everafter LP. In the end, Witness makes the journey worthwhile not only for the listener, but for himself as well. While he’s prepping his album, The Everafter LP is enough to hold listeners over, for either warm summer nights or cold winter days/evenings. You might have had had a hard day at work, but let Witness’s album take care of that.