Friday, September 18, 2015

Rise Up, A 'Phoenix' Story

Rise up.

Immediately you'd think of the Atlanta Falcons since the team has taken the two words as their slogan of sorts. Although they are off to a good start after Week 1, this article isn't about them. Maybe if they win the division we'll revisit them.

Another set of people heard that and thought of Rocky III and Survivor classic (and perennial workout motivation track) "Eye Of The Tiger". Clubber Lang and iconic films notwithstanding, that isn't the subject of this article either.

The subject is twofold.

First the title refers to Chicago born and HBCU educated producer Boyce. His sound is something amazing that one doesn't simply come across on the daily.

Secondly I speak of the labor of love that he [Boyce] has and/or will be presenting to the world in due time. I speak of Boyce's production EP Phoenix.

If you know anything about mythology you know that the Phoenix is the symbol of immortality, rebirth, and the circle of life. It lives, dies, and is reborn. One could go as far as to say it rises up, hence the title.

Phoenix is, putting it mildly, a great EP. Within the expanse of seven (7) tracks we are given much to feast on musically. By his own admission he is a 'Chicago born Caribbean boy' and this EP shows those roots plainly and perfectly. To the avid listener with a discerning ear notes of many genres can be heard such as soda, hip-hop, R & B, and house.

Because Phoenix is only seven tracks I will give you my three (3) favorites.

"Enana" is an instant favorite of mine. It gets you moving with little to no effort, almost as if putting your body into a rhythmic and hypnotized state. Assisted on production by Marq Raymond this house track has that sound locked down with heavy bass influences you'd expect from the best of hip-hop tracks. The juxtaposition here is flawlessly done.

"Thrones" had me lost immediately. As it began I was quietly wondering when that female voice was going to say, "Mike Will Made It..." As much of a fan as I am of Mike Will Made It, the comparison is high praise. This track is the club. It's the South. It's good ass, booty shaking hip-hop. Hearing it transports me back to my freshman year at Morehouse and the parties full of beautiful women, their perfect curves in glorious motion. Boyce has captured a moment and is giving it to use in the 3:12 running time. Quite gracious of him.

Finally, my most favorite.


This one is theatrical, epic even. It has so many faces, some many facets that you can never really see it the same way twice. You can heard Caribbean vibes as clearly as you are reading these words. There is a thrumming of an electric guitar adding to the menagerie. The drums, pure hip-hop. The vocals of what's assume is some druid choir enters the fray. All of this over a dark and looming presence throughout. Somehow the track becomes almost sentient, taking on a life of its own. That is amazing when you think about it.

Go ahead, think about it.

Boyce rises here on this EP, showing us how great production and beautiful art are reborn. I can't wait to see what he does next.

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