Album Link: Contradiction
Release: July 2015
Features: Sean Price, Jadakiss, August Alsina, Guordan Banks, Dave East & Suzann Christine
Stand Out Records: Wear Ya Crown, Hereditary Greatness, Keep Going, Gravity, Rio De Janiero [Remix]
Hip Hop in its current state is over-saturated with rap music I like to refer to as; “junk food material”. The product I refer to is stuff that we may like in the club or the car right now, but we will never have that moment where we collectively remember where we were when that song or album dropped. Nothing is wrong with this type music, the only issue is the Hip Hop industry’s immense dependence on the ice cream and cake. If Hip Hop had a food chart to layout, it would be all sugars and starch…
And at times, there’s young or new talent that comes along that gives you the nutrition you seek. It’s absolutely amazing to hear up and coming acts not bend or give into trends and just created music that represents them and their soul as a creator. Apollo Ali, is just that.
Apollo hails from Camden, New Jersey. Directly over the bridge from Philadelphia. Camden is like Philly’s annoying lil brother, which make’s Apollo something like a lil brother, just not the annoying type.
From my early days of hearing Apollo to now he’s had a sort of spiritual awakening. Not one of the types where he goes full Ma$e on you, but a healthy one for the heart, as you can hear it in the intro ‘Luke 4:24/Intro’ as well as ‘Taught Wrong/Heed This’ on the latter where he questions the actualities of realities while spitting fundamental to gems to the listeners. The first two tracks alone put you in a space where you KNOW you’re listening to one of God’s gifts to Hip Hop.
Track 3 ‘Hereditary Greatness’ is one of my favorites. It’s an ode to the greatness of his grandfather, the great boxer, Jersey Joe Walcott as well as a declaration of the recognition of his own undeniable greatness. A greatness he couldn’t shake if he tried. Contradiction is a hip hop album filled with Modernized, Kool G Rap, Nas, Pun street tales. All the while not sacrificing skill or content.
Another gem on the Album is ‘Keep Going’ which boast features from August Alsina as well as Guordan Banks. The motivational therapy that comes from this song is priceless. It’s one of those records that’s so relative to the listener, that it would connect with ones soul as soon as they lent an ear. “Even though the stress keep growing, I gotta keep goin!” This record is somewhat of a spiritual experience and very much one of my favorite records.
I think the song that could’ve been released as a lead single is ‘Gravity’. The summer is perfect for 2 types of records, party music and music you can cruise through your city listening to while reflecting. This song is the latter.. “At the bottom, where we come from, nobody makes it out, soooo, they giving in..” Apollo discusses the influences the struggles of the hood can have on ones mind and soul to the point where it feels like the nightmare you’re living is inescapable.
One of the great, yet unfortunate gems on here is the freestyle that features Sean Price and Verb Spielberg. Like this album , it embodies what Hip Hop should elevate more of. There’s no reason for someone this great to not be taken a chance on. As shown in songs like ‘Pray For Us’ as well as ‘Rio De Janiero’ that follows the freestyle with other solid to good tracks in between.
Contradiction by Apollo Ali is a underground Hip Hop masterpiece. It laughs in the face of people who think if its not on radio or getting praise by the masses, that it’s not good. This album is more than good. In fact it’s one of the best albums I heard this year. So much that it inspired me to take time out of my day to construct somewhat of a review. Don’t be one of those people late to the party, find out who he is, ASAP. Salute a great, Apollo, that is.