I missed the release of many albums on the run up to Christmas so now I’m playing catch up… one of my favourite releases from late last year was “Elixir” by Aaron Rose, the MC previously known as A La $ole. This is a decent début from the Pro Era member and Beast Coast rapper; yes it’s very short, but ignoring the runtime, I have to say that for five of the seven tracks this is a great EP. “Elixir” acts like a little sample before we’re given a more generous concoction when Aaron gets back in the lab.
Compared to CJ Fly’s “Flytrap” (a release from another Pro Era rapper which also dropped in December) Aaron Rose’s much shorter effort is a much more enjoyable offering. CJ Fly has talent, he has lyrical skills, but his latest album and previous mixtape “Thee Way Eye See It” have been average, his monotone voice drones from one track to the next, the songs almost blend into one and they become indistinguishable from one another. ”Elixir” on the other hand works as a showcase of Aaron Rose’s varying flow alongside satisfying and sometimes differing production from J57.
Aaron Rose demonstrates his abilities as a contemporary artist who effortlessly raps over new and old-school-influenced beats. The EP contains a coming-of-age first track “The Root Of Sole” with a head-nodding mid-90s style. “The Art Of Sole” is another throwback track sounding like something straight out of the golden era complete with a non-stop flow and infectious chorus.
“Parkside Ave” is a nice song as too is the mellow “Break It Down” which contains a hint of politics with Aaron rapping “’Cause of my melanin they treat me like a felon” and “If Marley shot the sheriff then I aim for deputies”. “The Shift” is also a great song featuring fellow Pro Era MC Dirty Sanchez, and with the pair delivering multisyllabic rhymes over an organ-infused beat this makes for another highly enjoyable song.
The final song is a strange track which contains clichéd contemporary Trap-ish production alongside pretty impressive verses by Aaron Rose who shows that he can at least vary his flow. The chorus which is an autotuned-backed, radio-friendly embarrassment is pretty disappointing after the tracks the come before, and as a final song this leaves you with a bemused expression wondering why Rose suddenly decided to go from underground Hip-Hop to overground Hip-Pop.
The best tracks on this EP in my opinion are “Art Of Sole”, “Break It Down”, and “The Shift” but it has to be said that almost all the songs are worth listening to. The main criticism I have is that for a seven track release there really is no reason for the “Jimmy’s Open Bar” interlude which breaks up the flow of the EP. In addition, I just wish that Rose had reconsidered the chorus to the final track (“I’m screaming out ‘Bitch I’m Swank Corleone!’”) which dives head-first into the realms of corny Pop and ruins what would otherwise be a pleasant and enjoyable EP.
Aside from the disappointing final track, “Elixir” is largely satisfying, but I guess even old-school rappers like Bone Thugs-N-Harmony had an unneeded final track on their impressive Ruthless Records’ début EP. With his competent flow and delivery, Aaron Rose is one of the Pro Era MCs to look out for in the future along with Dirty Sanchez, if Rose puts the Pop-choruses on the back burner, his full-length album should be very impressive.
The Start Of Sole.