ERA – The Breeze Card Chronicles (Album Review)
After giving us a glimpse of his skills behind the mic with his first single “Coltrane,” ATL emcee ERA finally released his latest project The Breeze Card Chronicles (BCC) last month. ERA uses a pretty structured theme around the concept of using a Breeze Card, a public transit pass, to travel about the city of Atlanta (yes, I had to do some research on this one, hahaha). There are some pretty unique moments on this body of work and it is interesting indeed.
“Welcome to Breeze”
The first full song on the project, this beat is built on an audio clip of the Breeze automated system’s greeting and a harmonic soul sample of vocal ad-libs. The bass line follows the sample’s lead climbing in tone, then frantically falling while the drums stay somewhat basic. After about 16 bars the drums pick up, adding a hollow sounding snare, claps, and rapid hi-hats a little later for a great production. ERA does the beat justice with his steady and easy going flow. There are too many crazy bars too pin point just one, with lines like: “Go head and gather your moss. This rolling stone is a boulder. Broke the mold now its gone take some range to get to the rover;” or “Don’t direct me like Tarantino. Please keep me unchained. And if you trying to sell me hell, I’m reimbursing the flame.” He does a great job speaking on the journey it will take to get to where he wants to be. The cool thing about this song is the ending snippet of an Andre 3000 interview where he discusses the state of Atlanta Hip-Hop and how lyricism was destined to happen; pretty slick no doubt.
“F.U.” F/ John Average
This is probably one of the more spacey productions on BCC. A futuristic, panning synth is the framework for the stripped down track. The sparking sound is layered and accompanied by deep drums and alternating hi-hats. There are epic organs that come in mid-way through featured artist John Average’s verse and then they come in again right before ERA goes in. The shifting 808s add a little flavor to the track and make for a nice record. Elaborating on how other rappers are far behind in this one, he and John toss some pretty hot ish. ERA impresses most though as he doesn’t hold back with the way he feels about his place in Rap: “N—a running s–t, gold medalist. Til you get a ring hoes never wanna fellowship. Sex ed b—h learn who you f–king with. And I still don’t mess with pussies, I’m a chauvinist.”
This production has a lot more of a polished feel to it, built upon a horn heavy soul sample (which I couldn’t quite pin point oddly enough). The smooth bass line keeps the laid back groove going, layered perfectly with the simple drum pattern. The chorus brings in some echoey high piano notes and it comes together easily while not over powering ERA’s bars. Talking to other passionate people trying to stay humble during their journey, ERA digs deep in the final track on this project. You get to feel where his head is with bars like: “Behind the most beautiful music be the ugliest wars. Behind the most beautiful people be the ugliest scars. Ask Whitney, ask Michael, n—as loving the flaws. Coltrane without the coke, you wouldn’t know him at all.” Its a well written piece about staying focused through all of the extra b.s. in life.
**Final Thoughts: Overall, I really dug BCC and ERA’s efforts here. Honestly, the records on this project are solid, especially “Coltrane.” The running time is a little short, yet doesn’t take away from its cohesiveness. There are a few too many skits in my opinion for the length of the album however and that distracts from some of its stronger moments. I never heard of ERA before BCC but I definitely feel like he has a lot of great material to give to listeners. -Real McCoy