If you enjoy tales of love, love-lost, self-actualization and brilliant phrase turning, with a cadence capable of moving the crowd on its own; combined with mellow, soul stinging beats, then Rico Jeezus’ A Misanthropist Heaven is for you.
The thing that struck me first when I first turned on A Misanthropist Heaven is that Rico Jeezus is giving too much. I felt bad for him at first, almost pitying him after my very first listen. However, it was only because I connected so much with the music that I felt this way about the artist.
I heard so much of my own story in his music that I was pitying myself. We are often driven mad in our quest for money, truth, beauty and ultimately love; as Jeezus himself admits on his track Madman. It is this ability to connect on a human level that I love about Rico Jeezus. I relate to the music so much that I almost felt like he was telling MY story as well as his own. And this fact is priceless. Rico Jeezus is a true artist, in the purest sense of the word.
After all, who hasn’t felt the pain, joy, sorrow, ecstasy and its ability to free us from our chains in our own search for love, meaning and respect?
Rico Jeezus clearly has a lot to get off his chest on A Misanthropist Heaven. Dealing with subject matter such as love, loss of love, addiction and Spirituality is nothing light. It gets very heavy at times but isn’t that what music is for? Expressing the thoughts and feelings that often go unspoken in day-to-day life; Rico Jeezus often comes across as a downer but all too human.
This is a breath of fresh air, as the emcee “crumbles slowly in the cold,” while he’s looking for love seemingly everywhere outside of himself. Once again, human. Rico Jeezus crushes the stereotype that emcees must be emotionless; despite how confident and strong he clearly is about his own pursuits.
People aren’t quite who they seem to be and Rico’s got his eye on only one “beauty queen.” I can’t tell if Rico’s crush is a love lost or a love coming to him on the concluding, The Phoenix. Like the bird who rose from the ashes, Jeezus remains resilient in his search for everlasting love.
My favorite track is “Paper Planes.” The beat continues the previous efforts at laid back, chill vibes with a simple drum break and an ill guitar sample. The emcee’s trials of loneliness is well established at this point, but it’s his flow that is unparalleled anywhere else on the album that really does it for me. He’s relentless. He’s rugged. The subject matter is deep (for lack of better word), which is what I like in my Hiphop music, especially with love songs. The emcee laments on those who would tell him not to chase his dreams, and seems very heroic-but-all-too-human like towards the end of the track. Indeed, life’s not a game as the emcee stays elusive as “nobody knows my where abouts,” and he brushes off those who would deny his dreams. It’s a great feeling to hear the emcee’s resilience and steadfastness to his goals and dreams. The beat being very melancholy, while Rico Jeezus is anything but; remaining strong, goal-oriented and purpose driven in the face of doubt is what seems to signify Rico Jeezus on this release.
As a listener, I often felt liberated and free when listening to A Misanthropist Heaven because the emcee is consistent with his expression, his flow and his Oneness with his Spirit and character. He’ll stick to a slow flow for a bit and at the unexpected time kick into an almost double-time, high-powered cadence to keep you on your listening toes. Rico Jeezus masters the art of bringing you the unexpected with this release.
On Madman (which also contains my favorite beat on the project: that chopped vocal sample is EERY!) the emcee questions his own sanity; something a lot of great artists do. Is he a madman for loving so passionately? Is he a madman for loving the almighty dollar and the will to make more of it? He paints a tale of one on the come up, yet never being satisfied with enough as he admits he’s “willing to be driven mad for money,” also questioning whether being attracted to the financial freedom having money offers makes him indeed insane or not; even questioning whether or not he’s damned and his own suicidal thoughts.
When an artist can be so vulnerable that it turns into strength is when I connect more evenly to the art. Rico Jeezus isn’t afraid of his own humanity and his fearlessness is contagious. It’s inspiring. It’s invigorating. It’s uplifting.
My main complaint of A Misanthropist Heaven is twofold. First, it’s too short. There’s simply not enough material here and Rico Jeezus is too good to take in such a small dose as 7 tracks. That being said, the second portion of my complaint takes a bit more explaining.
This release is very heavy. If it wasn’t for his own seemingly indestructible self-confidence, I would be left feeling very sorry for Rico Jeezus. He seems very lonely and afraid, yet almost possessing super-human self-assurance. He seems like a genuinely good dood who’s simply looking for love. However, it seems to be a very lonely existence. At about the 5th track, Stiff Liq & Lust, it becomes obvious why this is such a short release. Perhaps it is because the emcee is not intimidated by his own search for truth, meaning and ultimately love, perhaps it is because life is a bitch (as the emcee even admits). But the feel of this release is somber, almost down at times. Just listen though, there seems to be something very rewarding, something unseen: a gift that only the richness of experience and learning lessons can offer that Rico Jeezus seems to subconsciously possess on A Misanthropist Heaven.
Take for example, on Love Lies; the title is a play on words where the emcee questions the truth and sincerity of his own love. As well as questioning the double entendre of the phrase, wondering where true love actually “lies” or resides. This is simply brilliant song writing. Plus the cadence on this track alludes to heart break at the same time lending itself to a sense of never-saying-die attitude, the same attitude that keeps a human being going on our often unending search for love, acceptance and faith.
Rico Jeezus is a poet in the truest sense of the word. Heart on his sleeve, tough-as-nails and never flinching at his own fear and loathing; the emcee possesses the delivery and knowledge of the breaks to move the crowd as well. As dope and soulful as the beats on A Misanthropist Heaven are, I’d still love to hear some of these tracks a capella because the cadence is so free and powerful on its own, it often sounds like many of these verses were the product of well-planned and methodical freestyles.
Rico Jeezus possesses a style that often relics the greats and blemishes the lazy and malnourished styles all too popular in today’s Hiphop music climate: a style that has been tended and cared for over time, like watering an orange grove; the songs come to life with rich and ripe fruit, in the head phones and when played full-blast through the speakers.
Stand out tracks: Love Lies, Paper Planes, Stiff Liq & Lust
For your FREE download of A Misanthropist Heaven by Rico Jeezus, via bandcamp, click HERE.