The idea of mixing hip-hop with rock is not a new one. However, there have been very few artists that have made it work. Beastie Boys and Rage Against The Machine took elements of both to create something fresh and unique that was wildly successful. However, for every success case, there have to be at least 100 failed attempts. So, when I got a copy of ‘Birth, School, Work, Death‘ from Hyro Da Hero, I admit that I was very skeptical. Could Hyro pull it off? Find out after the jump.
Alright, I’m going to give away the answer right away: Hyro pulled it off. He’s found the magical line between hip-hop and rock and wedded the two to make an album full of infectious hooks, tight rhymes and songs that get stuck in your head for days. ‘The Worlds Stage‘ is a prime example of how Hyro has pulled together class act musicians and created a cohesive act, not just a disposable/replaceable backup group.
The production of the album is overall very solid, albeit having a bit too much bass throughout. I understand that this is a hip-hop album but it also shares at being a rock album. The overbearing bass hurt some of the tracks rather than helping them. Conversely, there is a rawness to the album that is actually very charming and fun. Flubbed guitar notes, Hyro hitting points where he sounds like he’s almost out of breath, and more are good examples of how this album feels immediate and in-your-face without sounding rushed.
Something that constantly niggled at me while listening to the album was the amount of swearing that Hyro does. Now, I’m not against swearing. I swear probably far too much throughout the day. However, on ‘Birth, School, Work, Death‘, it seems that Hyro is often swearing as a way to make sure his lines have a flow rather than using swear words to drive home a point. An example is in the track ‘A Conversation With Hip-Hop‘: ‘Cuz it was supposed to be the voice for the youth/Not all this bussing and cussing and fake shit/making bullshit music trying to get rich’ After saying not all this cussing, he proceeds to cuss twice within five seconds. The song has a legitimate statement to make about the situation of hip-hop, but hypocritical statements like that can detract from the power and truth of the message.
The Final Word: Putting aside the few issues I mentioned above, Hyro Da Hero has created something fresh and unique in ‘Birth, School, Work, Death‘ that will have no choice but to become huge. I already can’t wait for the sophomore release.