Releasing a good conceptual album is no easy feat. Having it center around the trials and tribulations of relationships always runs the risk of being too contrived. Anaheim-based Emcee Classiq manages to avoid all of that in finding the right lyrical arrows on Cupid's Vices. One-third of the Brothers Next Door, the rapper teamed with producer Rubix for the eight-track effort. The beats are chill and the themes topical. On "Respect the Situation" Emcee Classiq kicks off the conversation rhyming about mutual temptations left alone outside existing relationships. Such restraint goes unrewarded as bouncing bed springs open "I Should've," setting a scene of deceit and betrayal.
Cupid's Vices closes out with "White Dress Syndrome" which puts a wedding proposal as spoken word over a beat. The risks are rewarding and Emcee Classiq's delivery is adept. The effort is reminiscent of Brother Ali's The Bite Marked Heart EP. What the album ultimately means, the local rapper says, is up to each listener, but the Weekly gets Emcee Classiq's take!
On Cupid's Vices as an introduction to Emcee Classiq's music:
"It has more of an eclectic feel, very soulful. For those who never really heard me before, they can know where my background comes from as far as the elements. The content is what really draws people to me and my delivery. They would have a clue of the type of vibe that I have but also have a little curiosity and want to dig some more. Rubix had an idea sound wise. I had the concept of what I wanted Cupid's Vices to mean. He pretty much matched me in the idea. He's always talking about elevating my sound. When it comes to working on the lab with him, he definitely tries to broaden my horizons more and puts that musical pressure on me to come with it every time."
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On what the rapper took away from the concept and album title:
"It's definitely fact and fiction. There's a lot of personal stories of relationships I've been in and also a lot from my friends and surroundings. Relationships are one of those things on the man's side that we refuse to engage into emotionally. On the female side, no one wants really open up to the full story. It's a kind of a controversy in a way, kind of like that black and white situation. We all go through it. As far as Cupid's Vices, we all have this idea of what Cupid does but at the same time, we don't know how flawed he is, if he is even flawed. We all get into relationships and if he puts us together with other people we don't ever question it until things go south. Is Cupid that perfectionist? Or is he flawed?"
Emcee Classiq opens for KRS-One at the Observatory, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana; www.observatoryoc.com. (714) 957-0600. Dec. 3. 8 p.m. $5. All ages.