‘Escapism’ is a complex EP, inflamed at times like a sensitive rash. Tender and painful like a paper cut. Full of convoluted and pressing social problems, and the importance of seeing how relevant these problems can be. Even more so in 2018.
Hailing originally from Kingston Jamaica, raised in Brooklyn New York, and now residing in New Jersey, TruStony has made an EP that is of an urgency to be heard. It features intricate rhyme schemes throughout, which though are lacking speed, they certainly don’t lack precision. Speed doesn’t always equal quality anyway. In 2012 TruStony released his first mixtape, ‘The Tony Awards,’ which managed to get him noticed by NYmag.com and HipHopDX.com.
It is well known that Brooklyn is responsible for one of the highest amounts of influential Hip-Hop artists and rappers, artists like Jay-Z, Mos Def, Little Kim and Talib Kwell, and it can be heard that TruStony examined and took apart his favourites as he was finding his voice and pattern growing up in Brooklyn until the age of 18. He incorporates the styles of multiple artists, while wholeheartedly remaining himself. The different cultural backgrounds he grew up in will have undoubtedly gone somewhat to the sound he has created on this EP.
With influences like Tupac, Kendrick Lamar and even Bob Marley, the tracks on this record are incredibly diverse at times, and a great deal of emotion and depth can be found, shadowing the message of peace sometimes resting in Marley’s music.
Musically, this EP was astounding to listen to. A whole plethora of instruments have been implicated. Yes, at times the majority is electronic, but usually, this is when the focus is on TruStony’s voice and the message being conveyed. The messages he tries to promote and inspire are of great value and importance, and this album speaks of a mass of different issues.
TruStony speaks up about mass shootings and the horrors that they have brought to America over the years. Only a few weeks ago a video game convention was shot up in Florida. 2 people lost their lives, and 11 others were injured. It sometimes feels like things are just getting worse and TruStony feels this. At times there is a desperation in his voice for something better. And that’s one of the reasons this EP promotes thought and the idea that maybe music can be an escape. Hence the title ‘Escapism.’
Drugs get spoken about too. Beginning the ride that is this EP is the first track ‘Devil’s Lettuce.’ It is very Snoop Dogg in style, and is a laid-back start to the collection of songs here and with themes about Marijuana. It doesn’t particularly glorify it though. It speaks of a struggle certain people can be suffering with, and how certain police officers can sometimes get the wrong idea and take things a step too far. Maybe they should concentrate on more pressing issues.
The second track ‘Eucalyptus,’ does speak of the enjoyment of recreational use a bit more. And it’s clear he doesn’t care what you think. The attitude of this track is brilliant. It is a sonically exciting track with some interesting keyboard use.
‘Youniverse’ is where things start to get deep. TruStony begins to spit rhymes faster and skilfully, with some extreme attitude, and It even features an excerpt by Neil Degrasse Tyson. It adds a mass of profundity and wisdom to the track and is a genius choice.
Religion is another subject that gets attention, and the constant debate of people being allowed to choose themselves what to believe. ‘The treatment’ covers this brilliantly and even features an excerpt from an atheist who believes in peoples right to have faith and another atheist who doesn’t. The atheist who defends religion asks the other how he can justify wanting to take something away from people that give them and their lives meaning. The other responds with, “what a stupid question.” It perfectly sums up the culture in which we live. People are so quick to shoot each other down, and yes, I mean that in both senses. It seems the world really could be more understanding.
Freedom of speech is mentioned a few times, as well as addiction and being socially outcast. ‘N$Nd Interlude (New money new day)’ is a gritty song featuring Wordspit the Illest. Cleverly written and full of anger, it tackles the issue of gang violence and the principles involved.
The highlight of this EP comes from the final track. ‘Gone…’ is beautifully epic and the longest track reaching 9 minutes in length. It showcases TruStony’s voice and songwriting ability brilliantly, and the addition of Cocoa Sarai and her soulful vocal range add a luscious tone to the track. The choice to add her was a wise one. The arrangement and lyrical content of this track showcase how intelligent he is as a songwriter and how deep his creation of music goes.
It also features impressive piano work which astoundingly adds to the whole spectacle. The track talks about creation and validation, in a way, bringing a lot of the issues mentioned on this EP to a head. It talks about using the ability to write music as a way of helping people suffering injustice. It even masterfully uses an excerpt of Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagen. It is so fitting to the track as it speaks of the one planet we share, how everyone has ever and will ever live out their lives here. For the foreseeable future anyway. It talks about how important it is that we sort out our problems. “So we can become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.” It talks about the endless cruelties we suffer and how eagerly we kill each other and the delusions that scatter the planet we all share. A brilliant way of getting the lyrical point to tracks of this EP across.
This track is very reminiscent of ‘Exist’ by Avenged Sevenfold. Yes, they may be a metal band and as far from this genre of music as you can typically be, but even they were initially going to use Pale blue dot to get the point of their song across. They ended up using an excerpt by Neil Degrasse Tyson instead, but his message was so similar it is impossible not to be reminded of it. Especially when the points of both songs are so similar. That is why this EP is a masterful introduction into the work of TruStony. And why he will be very relevant in the years to come. It is a fantastic first outing for the newcomer. And he tackles pressing issues through his lyrics with finesse and has a great ability to craft exciting and at times uplifting music around it. It shows how people with different backgrounds can have similar thought processes when writing music. And why music is always going to be the most significant form of escapism.