Awon & Phoniks – Return To The Golden Era (Album Review)
Return To The Golden Era (preview/purchase)
Brooklyn born emcee Awon teamed up with a Portland producer by the name of Phoniks and the two created a project with the intentions of revitalizing the golden era of Hip-Hop. Particularly, the boom bap sound of New York Hip-Hop in the 90’s. They dubbed the work Return To The Golden Era. It consists of a total of 15 tracks and is described as a uniform offering that embodies everything from story-telling pieces to feel good tunes. An in depth look at the duo as well as more info about the album can be found here. After the break, take a peek at what songs the site found to be worthy of a little individual spotlight.
The production here is nice. It entails: a full bass, buoyant background elements, a tranquil rhythm, and a relaxed vibe. The hook is premium too. It actually features a sample from iconic New York emcee Jay Z and his single “Can’t Knock The Hustle.” The verses are well-founded. Awon contributes a distinguishable flow, intellectual wordplay, and mature rhymes. He pens a cavalier collective revolving around themes like: money, life in the hood, drugs, lack of loyalty, etc. A handful of worthwhile lines include: “Creeps roll constant in beast mode. Hammer on the hip, still conscious. Evian flow lame n—as out the faucet. Garbage, the scent of whack s–t makes me nauseous. Gorgeous like a black stallion. Suits Italian. (…) Wilding busting shots in the atmosphere. From sun roofs and Lex Coupes, born to have no fear. But when men fall they don’t rise. Yo you never seen a man cry. Until you seen a man die.” The visual created within those bars is dope. Overall, this is an ill cut.
“Blood In Blood Out”
The production here is clean. It is made up of: a level foundation, light jazzy secondary components, a soulful mid-tempo pace, and a thoughtful vibe. The hook is top notch. The delivery is magnetic and the lyrics are real. The verses are proper. Awon serves up a congenial flow, personal wordplay, and heavy hitting rhymes. He takes the listener through tales of loss caused by materialistic values. Peep it as he spits: “As I sit in my apartment I think of the dearly departed I lost in the streets. Brokenhearted regrets of the game. Shouldn’t introduced ’em to that b—h named Caine. She done brought many of my homies mad pain. (…) Got a call late night that my brother got shot. Hopped in the whip even though the block’s hot. The sight of him in the rain dead in the streets. Body covered up under a blood stained sheet.” Harsh realities being shared via those words. All in all, this is a deep must hear record.
The production here is superior. The sophisticated infrastructure, rich musical ingredients, instrument laced cadence, and casual vibe make for a dynamite mix. The hook is gratifying. The delivery is easy to follow and the lyrics are genuine. The verses are elite. Awon exhibits his signature flow, expert wordplay, and compelling rhymes. He conveys the essence of survival from his own personal perspective and experiences. A few lines worth taking note of are: “I was rolling with goons who packed guns and twist wigs. (…) Had pipers lined up like it was free cocaine. Then n—as got greasy like beef lo mein. Tried to rob me and my homies like they did 2 Chainz. Damn n—-as wanna stick me for my paper. Damn why do I attract the player haters? Just one of the risks of getting illegal paper. Get robbed, locked, shot, or sent to meet ya maker.” That is a hard unfortunate lesson to learn and one that many in the life can undoubtedly relate to. In the end, this is another successful effort.
**My Two Cents: Awon & Phoniks totally nailed their goal. 90’s New York Hip-Hop lived and breathed all through the Return To The Golden Era. The album brings about a serious sense of nostalgia that old school Hip-Hop fans are sure to love. The content was of grade A quality and the production was divine. I really can’t think of one bad thing to say about this LP. Return To The Golden Era ranks a 5/5. Hats off to the duo on a job well done. -MinM