Friday, July 3, 2009

Donny Goines - The Breakfast Club Album Review

Coming off a very dark and heavy first album, Donny Goines goes the opposite direction in almost every way for his sophomore release, The Breakfast Club. Minutes After Midnight had to be bought, TBC is available as a free download; MAM was dark and straight off the street, TBC is diverse, MAM had minimal features, TBC includes many great emcees.

Lyrics: Goines lyricism is not his strongest attribute but I feel that there is a very solid performance on each and every song; the lyrics never hurt the song. Compared to his first cd, the growth is tremendous. He is not a poor lyricist but the rhymes that he uses are not always the most complex. Even still, as said before, they do the song justice and every now and then you get a gem such as “if the money talks and a picture is worth a thousand words/then my cd cover’s priceless including the nouns and verbs.” One of his biggest strengths as a lyricist is definitely his story telling. What made Minutes after Midnight so good can be found sprinkled throughout The Breakfast Club. He tells stories about what he has gone through to make it to his point and shorter stories like one of his bad days (Track 16 - Can’t Get it Right). As for the features, Donny completely holds it down on his own but it is nice to hear him work with other rappers from all over the country and build chemistry. This also takes some pressure off of him to write 3-4 verses per song and allows him to focus on the 1-2 and make them better. He is able to hang in there with Tanya Morgan, Planet Asia, Emilio Rojas, A Pinks and many more. Sometimes the feature outshines him but when you work with such great emcees it is bound to happen, and it is not a usual occurrence.

Beats: With a variety of producers on this album, the sound changes up nearly every track yet I thoroughly enjoy each one. As I listen to the cd, I do not skip over any song and the beats set the tone 100%. I am not sure if he picked these beats from a larger group or if they were designed specifically for him but Donny either: a) has a great ear for choosing beats or b) has great chemistry with a number of producers. “She Likes” and “Oh No” are examples of beats that are very different yet very fitting to his style. No two tracks sound alike. Some taking samples of 80’s pop, some from funk, some straight rock and roll and then as expected there are head banging rap songs on here too. The beats are at different tempos and general styles forcing Goines to step his game up which leads me to my next point.

Flow: Donny Goines greatest ability is by far his vocal flexibility. As mentioned above, the beats are so different from track to track, that it does not seem like he would have been able to just get in rhythm and spit out a few songs. Not only is the melody different but drum patterns speed up and slow down throughout a song. Donny Goines is capable of slowing up his words and truly enunciating if need be. But he is also equally gifted at stringing words together to spit faster and faster. Although he is not always saying the cleverest words, they always have meaning and more importantly they always ride the beat. He makes it seem like any rapper should be able to rap at different speeds and change their flow effortlessly but unfortunately this is a skill that is not held by all. 8/10

Album Title: I was talking with Anu, and we were talking about how important the album title can be towards an album’s success. She had some insight that I thought was worth putting on here. It is all speculation because we don’t know why he chose the title he did but in reference to the cult classic film of the same name, Goines is capable of bringing together different types of sounds and producers much as the people in the movie were not meant to go together and be friends but found a way. Breaking barriers and stereotypes is very apparent in the movie, but equally seen in one listen of Goines' album as well.

Overall: After a very “one-sounded” debut album it is relieving to hear such a diverse effort the second time around. Both albums are very good but I would have hated to see Donny Goines get pigeonholed into one type of sound and that will definitely not be the case. This album is like going to a music festival: there are all types of music on here and Goines just happens to be rapping on every track. I think that this cd proves that Goines’ potential is seemingly endless because I feel that he could really collaborate with ANY artist out there no matter their genre. The flexibility partnered with his hard work ethic and improvement will only lead to good things. Based on what I have seen: his improvement from one album to the next, the interviews I have watched and read, as well as social outlets such as his blog and twitter; Donny Goines seems to be one of the hardest working musicians out there. I look forward to hearing what he does in the future.

The Breakfast Club - downlo@d

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