Honesty is Mandatory

Artist: 
Duals
Non-Airable Tracks: 
2, 4, 10, 14, 17
Label: 
Self Released
Album Art: 

Duals' "Honesty is Mandatory" is self-described on BandCamp as a "full DIY bedroom album." In other words, it is an inspired project constructed on meager means, and as any poor producer knows, there are struggles that come along with that. The main appeal for my own listening was the concept of following an artist through their explorations of style and sound. You have tracks here ranging all the way from the super-raw "Give Me That Loop Fool," calling back to simpler times of MCs over break beats spinning in the park, to the crazy, wonky tracks like "The Aliens Crucified Dumbo." As a producer myself, I know the constraints of money on sound and those constrains are apparent to me on this disk. The production is too often cluttered or imprecise and, despite the admirable depth in the atmosphere of each track, I would argue fewer, clearer samples would have worked better over the long-haul than the current muddled maze of layers. The lyricism, on the other hand, is solid throughout. It pulls heavily on inspirations of early conscious rap, alternative rap, and spoken word. The interchanging rhythms and rhyme patterns in "Life is a Paradox" is an exhibition of the lyrical rap which has become all but extinction since the start of the millennium. Now, if "Honesty is Mandatory" then the truth is this is a rough album. The beats need work and Duals needs to create a stronger bond between track and verse to turn 'MC and beat' into 'song.' But the creativity is inspiring to hear and I am genuinely excited to see what more experience, mixed with the same massive investment of care and time, will have Duals bringing in the future. So the second, and I mean the second that new project is done... you know where to send it.

Sounds Like: 
Deep Puddle Dynamics
Sounds Like: 
Saul Williams
Recommended Tracks: 
2. Life is a Paradox: Decent, subdued beat with some conscious rhymes
Name: 
Cullen Walsh
Date Reviewed: 
10/21/2015