RATING: 4 CHET BAKERS
The imagination is a powerful thing. It's the core of what can keep our lives enjoyable. When your life gets to be too much, a healthy and creative imagination can be what sustains us. What keeps us from going crazy.
It can also be what can destroy us.
It can be used to drag us down, to decimate our lives due to our own self esteem or self image issues. If we allow ourselves to give in to our inner Walter Mitty, weaving these fantastical images for our lives that are never fully realized or only end in doom, it can be a tragic thing.
And that is the situation that the narrator of Philly emcee Ryshon Jones' "She's Leaving For College" finds himself in. During a session of lovemaking with his girlfriend before she leaves for college, he finds his imagination taking over and he finds himself embracing all these negative scenarios of her moving on without him, with her cheating on him, of him cheating on her.
To a point this is nothing new, as it pertains to the feelings of a guy who's girl is moving away or taking a new job. Men, as a rule, are a jealous insecure bunch. We tend to always think that we will be betrayed or rejected.
*MORE AFTER THE BREAK*
It's the old situation of men feeling that we are swinging out of our league with the woman we are with. And so we keep telling ourself that she'll grow tired of us, she'll eventually come to her senses and move on to someone more in her league. So our imaginations run wild and we tend to destroy ourselves with our fantasies that more often then not, are not based in anything other than just that: Fantasies.
And that is where the protagonist of this mixtape finds himself. When he's not thinking of all the things she's doing, he's imagining himself being tempted as well, almost like he's trying to end the relationship in his mind, so it'll be easier to do so in person.
In a way it's kind of like the Good Will Hunting film. In that film Matt Damon played a character who was so used to people leaving him, abandoning him, and as a result he would push people away first. He would act an asshole, he would do things that would end with them leaving, because THEN he could say it was because he was an asshole. Not because of something more personal and intimate about himself.
I think many men suffer from this type of thing. More than maybe will admit it. We all drive ourselves crazy over women and a lot of times those jealousy fueled imaginations are not based in reality.
Talen Ted (Lust Files) and Danny Dee (Prototype), and the soulful hip hop vibes to these are excellent. The samples used are done so masterfully and this is actually the first mixtape I've listened to all the way through in quite some time.
As I was listening, I found myself checking out individual tracks repeatedly before continuing on with the mixtape. Tracks like "Prototype" and "Lust Files" There's really nothing to find fault with this effort from the Philly rapper.
Finally, I get a lot of spam email from so-called "next big thing" rappers and links to their songs or mixtapes. Yet they are 99.9% all garbage. They are people who desperately need someone in their lives to say "please. Stop. Step away from the Mic, Wack Rapper!"
Listening to this mixtape leaves me wishing that I got more music like this in my inbox. Wishing that I got real solid music sent to me unannounced. Perhaps that's too much to ask for, as the ones with true talent like Ryshon, don't need to stoop to that level of spamming their music. Real music gets discovered on its own, and gets the light shined on it.
This concept album is one that needs to be heard. It's a subject that so many people can relate to. It's not a stereotypical guns/drugs/hos type of nonsense that many people don't live and don't relate to, except in their distorted fantasies. It's real life. It's things that happen to a large section of the population.
And in that sense, Ryshon has created something that is truly truly unique in the current era of hip hop music. He's made something that is relevant. Which is probably the most astounding aspect of this whole thing.
NOTE: This mixtape contains mature themes of a sexual nature.