Having met in college, Bronx, New York natives Mark-uz MidKnyte (Knyte) and Lazarus (Laz) provide listeners a glimpse into their lives with catchy rhymes and moving tales on their debut album, Starving Artist. The duo, naming themselves Dead Poets, prove to be just what Hip-Hop needs today — MC’s rapping about the everyday struggle of an artist and how to overcome hardships through patience and positivity.
The diverse 12-track album blends well structured beats and lyrics, never leaving the listener astray. In fact, it’s often hard to believe this is Dead Poets’ debut release.
The listener quickly realizes this is not an ordinary Hip-Hop album. “Too Many Mics” brings references to politics, the music industry and humility. With catchy phrases like, “We cover more grounds than FedEx,” Knyte and Laz keep the listener hitting the repeat button in constant search of additional lines missed upon first listen.
Tales of difficulties in black society intertwined within funk, soul, R&B and what will most likely become club hits, the variety on this album is impressive and never falls short. “On the Grind” talks of drug culture, the workforce and poor treatment by cops. In the midst of a song that seems hopeless, Knyte and Laz rap about redemption and how “progress is based on advancement.” The talent and emotion within this song is undeniable.
Tracks like club-centric jam “Tickled Pink” have the potential of Top 40 radio while “Step Up,” is a slower R&B number encompassing a softer vibe with light percussion. Rapping, “Anything is possible from diplomas to degrees” later continuing, “Step up to the plate and be a man,” the positive outlook provided by Dead Poets is inspiring.
Stand out number is “Irresistible” featuring Denae and L’Monte on vocals. A catchy club hit, the infectious chorus is bound to be stuck in your head long after the song is over. Whatever genre of music you may enjoy; Dead Poets’ Starving Artist satiates every music lover’s appetite. Each track is fresh with varied guest vocalists bringing their own style and flavor to the table.
Ending the album with, “Uncomplicated” Dead Poets rap, “Follow your heart in a moment of truth.” Summing up the ideas behind Starving Artist — having respect, patience, serenity and humility towards each other, Knyte and Laz leave an impact on the listener. Not often an easy task for a Hip-Hop artist to accomplish, Dead Poets succeed and never come across as presumptuous or overproduced. “You can’t break the spirit of a true starving artist,” they sing on the title track. Luckily, for Knyte and Laz, this proves to be true. Hip-Hop world take notice.
For more on Dead Poets be sure to visit them on MySpace.