(Photo By Band Camp)

sEMESTER UnO: Shards (listen/download)

HelioS is a budding artist on a mission to tell his story through music. He began by sharing the tale of his trials and tribulations in high school and how he survived it all. He used his memories of that time, created a collection of songs, and released a mixtape labeled, Animus Session: The Dead of Winter. The next part of his story follows the rapper through his first semester of college. It covers the good, the bad, and everything in between, including the unexpected. This part of his narrative can be heard in his latest offering, sEMESTER UnO: Shards. The tape is said to be a sequel of sorts to the previous mentioned effort though there are some differences. HelioS dishes: “I was a high school senior in the former, I am a first year college student in the latter. I was pessimistic, unhappy & downright depressed in Animus Session, I am naive and full of hope in sEMESTER UnO: Shards. This is not the story of a boy who did jello shots on Friday nights, slept around and played beer pong till the sun came up. No, that story isn’t real, and if it was, it would be uninteresting. Let’s not rehash Asher Roth‘s breakthrough single. This is not just a story: it is MY story. And I told it in the best way ever.” So if he didn’t have the cliche first year college experience, what exactly did HelioS go through? Find out after the break.

sEMESTER UnO: Shards kicks off with an introductory clip by the name of ” Prologue: A New Beginning.” The clip entails audio of HelioS leaving one world behind (New Jersey) and heading off to another (Florida). It was a nice way to set up the tape. Following the intro are a couple of tracks that boast of optimistic times. “SeaSpray” is one example of said songs. It chronicles a day on the beach via down to earth production, engaging content, and a chill vibe. It is a quality record for the most part. The melodic portions need some work but it is not a major issue. Towards the middle of the project, things get a little personal. In “Blue Dew,” HelioS takes the listener on an introspective ride as he reflects on things such as his rap career. The ride is enveloped in choice production with a somber tone. There are some pretty standout rhymes on this cut as well. Lines like “The artist no one knows is always the greatest to be. While that guy on the radio is always a sucka emcee;” definitely helps make the song worth a spin or two. In the end, this was a triumphant offering and a favorite off of the tape.

The tape winds down on a slightly darker note. “Black Out” is a tune with a scattered Rock style production and gloomy content. As a whole, it is a very ambiguous single but still of a solid caliber. sEMESTER UnO: Shards ends with a quick spoken word piece. The poem is tagged “Fallen Angel.” It is an acappella reading, so there is no production present. The subject of the poem revolves around becoming enamored with the wrong type of female. HelioS is not against love. He just wants his fellow men to be careful. Overall, it was a noble work.

**My Two Cents: sEMESTER UnO: Shards is an interesting venture for sure. The production is up to standard. It should be noted that HelioS produced a majority of the mixtape himself and completely mixed / mastered the whole project. That is always impressive. The content is a tad on the atypical side but that’s what makes it worth lending an ear. I think anybody who likes Hip-Hop and has an open mind will find something worthwhile about sEMESTER UnO: Shards. Readers can find HelioS on the web via his: website, Twitter, and Facebook Page. -MinM