Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bliss N Eso - 'Collection'

I'll begin the review with a short history lesson on the crew that is Bliss N Eso, also known as BNE or BEI.

Bliss n Eso
are an ARIA award winning Australian hip hop group based in Sydney, and were originally known as Bliss n' Esoterikizm. Bliss n Eso are currently signed to Melbourne record label Illusive Sounds, and are managed and booked by label co-founders Adam Jankie and Matt Gudinski. The trio; American born MC Bliss (Jonathan Notley), Australian MC Esoterik (Max MacKinnon) and DJ Izm (Tarik Ejjamai) of Moroccan heritage have been friends (and have rapped together) since high school. Notley moved to Australia in 1992 when he was just thirteen and met MacKinnon at the Glenaeon Steiner School in Sydney.

Notley later moved to Mosman High School which is where he met Ejjamai. The group initially went by the name of 'Bliss n Esoterikizm', but that proved to be too much of a mouthful for most people so it was shortened to just Bliss n Eso.

In December, 2005 the trio performed as a support act for 50 Cent on his 'Get Rich Or Die Trying' tour together with G-Unit and Lil Jon.

The group then switched labels to Illusive Sounds and released their second official album, Day of the Dog, on 4 March 2006. The album features production from Bliss, Weapon X, Suffa, and MC Motley, among others. It also features guest spots from British emcees MC Motley and Mystro, as well as fellow Sydney MC, Hyjak. Day of the Dog debuted at #43 on the ARIA Album Charts, making it the first Australian hip-hop release to debut in the top 50. The group undertook a national tour in March - April to support the album. Day of the Dog was then entirely remixed by Gold Coast producer M-Phazes (Supastition, Kenn Starr) and released later that year as Day of the Dog: Phazed Out. The album was nominated for Best Urban Release at the 2007 ARIA Awards the award was won by the Hilltop Hoods for The Hard Road Restrung.

In 2007 Bliss n Eso travelled to North America, playing shows in the North-West of the US and Canada including a performance at the Whistler 2007 Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival.

Following up on their collaboration with the choir, Bliss N Eso embarked on a journey in June, 2007 with MTV and the Oaktree Foundation to some of the poorest regions in South Africa to complete the track and shoot the video clip for "Bullet and a Target". Bliss N Eso also shot a documentary with Evermore produced by MTV, aimed at creating awareness about the challenges faced by developing communities in Africa. The film clip and 30 minute documentary aired exclusively on MTV and received attention from the media and the public. Recently the group have been nominated for the 'Good Karma Award' for these efforts at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards.

Bliss n Eso were one of the Australian hip hop artists featured in the documentary Words from the City, which aired on ABC Television in late 2007.

The group's latest album, Flying Colours, was released 26 April 2008 - coinciding with a national tour by the group, along with True Live, Funkoars and The Winnie Coopers. The album debuted a week later at #10 on the Australian ARIA Albums Chart, and it remained in the ARIA Top 100 for the following 12 weeks. The album was nominated for a J Award in August, 2008 and also nominated for an ARIA award for 'Best Urban Release'

In August, 2008 Bliss n Eso performed at the Splendour in the Grass festival and at the Trackside Festival in Canberra. In September they went on the road for their most successful national tour to date, with sell out performances across the country, concluding with a sold out home coming show at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney to a capacity crowd of 2500 patrons. They will be touring Canada at the end of the year and are planning to re-release Flying Colours in early 2009, with a bonus DVD. The DVD will contain a live performance that the band plan to film and record at the Metro Theatre in Sydney.

Bliss n Eso appeared for the first time in a Triple J Hottest 100 with three entries in the 2008 countdown; "Eye of the Storm" at number 40, "The Sea is Rising" at number 61 and "Woodstock 2008" at number 94. "Happy in My Hoody" failed to make the Hottest 100 but did come in at number 136.

In 2009 the success of Bliss n Eso continued with their Flying Colours album remaining in the official ARIA charts for 54 weeks and counting. They also performed at the Sound Relief concert in front of 82,000 people at Melbourne's MCG on 14 March 2009. They were the only hip-hop act to perform at the concert, which raised over 8 million dollars for Victoria's bushfire victims.

So that's a 'short' bio for you all, now onto the reviews


Flowers in the Pavement (2004)

This was the first LP from BnE and is very impressive considering that. It is about an hour long featuring 18 tracks. It is an excellent album and is really well done. It has that sense of humor Skip Hop is known for as well as keeping that seriousness in tracks that tell a story or want you to notice a problem with society. All the tracks are good songs, some are great. The list of tracks is;

  1. "Evolution" (intro) – 2:45
  2. "Creepy" – 5:24
  3. "Rubbed the Lamp the Wrong Way" – 4:37
  4. "Vagina Ice" – 3:23
  5. "Clean the Tub" – 0:59
  6. "Pigs in the Porn Trough" – 6:34
  7. "Split Soul" – 3:40
  8. "I Love You But..." – 0:19
  9. "Tunnel of Love" – 4:52
  10. "Greenhouse" – 4:50
  11. "Supermarket Chick" – 0:44
  12. "Get Amongst It" – 5:19
  13. "This is for You" – 3:36
  14. "Headless Princess" (featuring Ethnic) – 7:09
  15. "Hip Hop Blues" – 4:00
  16. "Twisted Road" – 4:00
  17. "Weathermen" – 3:35
  18. "Watchdog Water Dragons" – 5:17
My favourite track(s) are hard to decided as there are so many good ones, I find 'Rubbed the Lamp the Wrong Way' a great song to bounce to, as well as 'Get Amongst it'. I find 'Vagina Ice' & 'This is For You' very calming tracks and tell an excellent story.
This album is a great album but it is not my favourite from the crew, an excellent debut and I was glad to purchase it, it was definitely worth the money.

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Day of the Dog (2006)

This is the second release by the crew. It was released by Illusive Sounds in March, 2006 as both vinyl and CD releases. The title of the album is a metaphor for Australian hip hop being the 'underdog' of the Australian music industry, and affirming that it is now time for it to rise up, and rise up it did. This is one of my favourite albums of all time, not just Skip Hop. Its got excellent party songs, its got songs to chill to, songs to laugh about and songs that make you think about life. Its just a great Australian album, with an American and UK twist. There are 16 tracks on this not including three bonus tracks I have on my version
These tracks are;

  1. ''The Dreamer" - 0:51
  2. "Its Working" - 4:08
  3. "Up Jumped The Boogie" - 3:57
  4. "Then Till Now" - 3:47
  5. "Coppin' It Sweet" - 3:54
  6. "Get Your Boof On" - 4:17
  7. "Get Loose" (Ft. Hyjak) - 3:30
  8. "Mad Tight" - 3:39
  9. Nowhere but Up" - 3:19
  10. "Watch Your Mouth" (Ft. Mystro) - 3:56
  11. "Party at my Place" (Ft. Motley) - 4:18
  12. "Evening Breeze" (Ft. Kye) - 3:11
  13. "That Feeling" - 3:50
  14. "Lights Camera Action" - 3:59
  15. "Solider On" (Ft Kye) - 3:44
  16. "Good Morning Australia" - 4:14
  17. "Worldwide" (Ft. Octa) - 4:06
  18. "Blazin'" - 1:58
  19. "Them Boys" - 3:37
This album is probably the best from BEI and my favourite album yet. Its hard to choose a favourite song from this one, there are so many. A few would be; Party at my Place, Mad Tight, Get Your Boof On, Up Jumped the Boogie. Its just the best damn album yet. I love it.

The third and final album of the Bliss N Eso Collection is;

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Flying Colours (2008)

This album was recorded in three different continents over twelve months, and features Illmaculate (World freestyle and Scribble Jam champion), a 20 piece African Zulu Choir (The Zulu Connections Choir), Debaser (US), Hyjak and Phrase. This album is not the best but somewhere in the middle. I like the diversity, it has that humor that the boys are famous for as well as that deep and meaningful stuff that we all know we love. Its a great album to listen to when you want to think or meditate, surprisingly, not many Skip Hop albums have the ability to do this. I enjoy the album, with all Skip Hop albums, but I have heard better

Track List;
  1. "The Beginning" - 1:41
  2. "Woodstock 2008" - 4:27
  3. "Eye of the Storm" - 3:27
  4. "Bullet and a Target" (featuring the Zulu Connection Choir) - 4:15
  5. "Happy in my Hoody" (featuring Hyjak and Phrase) - 4:19
  6. "Destiny Lane" - 3:41
  7. "Zion Bash" - 2:51
  8. "The Sea is Rising" - 5:36
  9. "Gorilla Militia" - 3:14
  10. "How to Listen, Part 1" - 3:02
  11. "Climb these Cliffs" - 3:41
  12. "At Midnight" - 5:21
  13. "Royal Flush" - 3:52
  14. "$5 Steak" - 5:35
  15. "The Truth" (featuring ILLmacuLate and Sapient) - 4:41
  16. "Never Give Up" (featuring Changes) - 4:31
  17. "Field of Dreams" (featuring Paris Wells) - 3:24
My favourite tracks, there are a few of them, for many different reasons, Bullet & a Target is good, great one to think with, $5 Steak is humors good for when your drinking, or whatever it is you do to get inebriated, Lion Bash is your classic Skip Hop song, with the pumping bass and tight rhymes and finally Royal Flush, again, humors and tight rhymes.
I decided this album is better then I thought originally, It deserve at least a;

So that's the last of the BnE albums, for now, there is a Deluxe Edition of Flying Colours being released shortly which I'm looking forward too, but that's a review for another day. I hope this helps influence your Skip Hop choices. Look out for my next review on my hometown hero, Drapht's, collection.

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