Fans of hip-hop might want to take this review with a grain of salt. That is to say, hip-hop music, like any form of music really, his hard to judge by non-aficionados. Yet, we’re always told to expand our musical horizons and give a listen to things that are outside of our comfort zone.
Hailing from Inglewood, California, Rhawn B. was a film student who graduated from The Los Angeles Film Institute, but decided to pursue a career in music. His album, Expensive Ignorance, mostly chronicles the ups and downs of his life, including some of the serious mistakes he made along the way.
Not sounding terribly different from the rap and hip-hop you commonly find in the U.S. or U.K. charts, Rhawn brings some interesting flavors to his music. “Ain’t Gotta Question,” for example, rests on a plodding, very ‘80s sounding synth line. “Never lose focus, when the skies are gray,” he raps, apparently alluding to the struggles he had to overcome to get this record made.
Similarly, “Just Get To It,” lightly channels arena rock of days gone by, built on a guitar hook that could have been lifted from a power rock ballad. It too is a lesson in staying focused in spite of obstacles.
Rhawn certainly has an ear for a hook, and is a forceful but not angry rapper. Sonically it’s very cool and to the pedestrian hip-hop listener it’s definitely accessible. While it seems to cover a lot of the same ground song to song, it’s engaging enough to keep your attention. However, there’s also a certain sameness to it overall, but again that just may be how it sounds to an ear not usually in tune with hip-hop.
7 Stars out of 10
PF Wilson has been writing about music, TV, radio, and movies for over 20 years. He has also written about sports, business, and politics with his work appearing in Cincinnati CityBeat, The Houston Press, Cleveland Scene, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincy Magazine, Atomic Ranch, and many more. Check out his podcast PF’s Tape Recorder available from Podbean or in iTunes.