“From the perspective of the cloud in Exodus, I can see where we at. And from way up here it appears that we’re nowhere in tact...” - Eshon
In Exodus 24, Moses climbed up Mt. Sinai to commune with the Lord as He showed Himself and His glory in the form of a cloud. The time- 40 days and nights- spent in the cloud was, to the say the least, productive and Moses returned with manifold truth for the people of Israel. Similarly, after much longer than 40 days of waiting, Eshon Burgundy presents us his debut album Blood Rushing To My Head. Though a veteran with multiple mixtapes, remixes, and singles on his resume, those who have been following his music have been anxious to see how he could construct a complete album. We’ll take a closer look at Eshon’s perspective from SME WHR N TH CLDS LKN DWN.
“The Garden” starts things as Eshon and Christon Gray team up to speak on the root of our sin problem, largely a result of a Satan’s seed of deception. The smooth, open production fits Eshon’s no frills approach and properly sets the tone for the musical road he aims to take us on. Up next is “Dearly Beloved”, a street commentary piece that features J. Johnson and another All-Pro hook from Von Won. The subtle things are what make this song such a standout; from the unforced imagery of Eshon to the timing of J. Johnson injecting his 8 bars, even the perfectly chopped horns, this is a heavy repeat track. (Note: I loved that Eshon said “bending and folding politicians”, since Ben Franklin wasn’t a president.)
“Comprende” continues things as Eshon calls on The Voice, Lavoisier, Eric Christopher (of HeatCasters.com), and Fred Council to narrate on the struggle that comes with trying to shake the mindset of those who feel stuck in the street life. Much respect has to go to Fred Council who provided arguably one of the stronger hooks I’ve heard, specifically in the sense of style and execution, in good minute. I’m really impressed with how Eshon went a different route and stepped away from the “normal” voice here. Speaking of outside the box, “Tell You Why” is a unique track from the quiet storm type of beat to the excellent contribution of Je’Kob on the hook. Some artists have flow, Eshon presented his classic “streaming of consciousness” on this song about approaching those who need Christ with love at the forefront of our minds.
One of the only songs I was not totally enthused about was "I Don't Want You", though it's more technical than anything. It felt as if Eshon's lyrics were in full flight but the track (excellent sample not withstanding) didn't quite spread its wings completely. In my opinion, where the bassline should have come in strong and the snares crisp, the sounds felt too recessed and minimal. That aside, Eshon strings together some strong lines including "...the frequency between heaven and hell for me wasn't equally vivid. Creep with me my leap of faith begins to push off my pivot and once I'm in the Heir, I'm in the air so let me swish it." and "happily married to the Universal Engineer, Designer of that refining fire, let's make it clear. Alpha comma Omega comma The Pioneer, so Lucifer aye bruh, I'm stepping out the crew, you keep trying to make me murder God is trying to take me further..." . As this song comes to a close, the turning point is made concrete with the hidden track "Addiction", which features Dre Murray and Neek Smif. The overall extended metaphor here is understood, even though I don't personally get down with how the parallel is drawn.
As we get to the last half of the album, things wind down in several ways; considering the coherent sound developed initially, "The Veil" moves away from that a bit. Although the instrumental itself isn't that bad, its southern influence isn't as much of a fit as "Dearly Beloved" was. Even so, Fred Council does a good job on this hook as well and Eshon continues to provide lyrically relatable tapestry work. "Semi Automatic Mindset", featuring Jeremiah, is a song that is great in concept but underwhelming in execution, with plodding beat and slightly awkward hook. I gave this a couple of listens through to enjoy what both skilled emcees had to say but, honestly, this would be considered a skip in my opinion. Things turn right back around quickly with "DBA", the initial single, featuring J. Johnson and Sean C. Johnson. Eshon gets to work with his long time comrade Street Orchestra on the track, a creative layering and meshing of samples and crisp drum programming. The cautionary tale aspect of this song and free flowing hooks from Sean C. are what really make this song shine.
"Wine & Spirits" is almost like the A to "Addiction's" B-side, offering a more clear cut metaphor that enhances the distinction between a Holy Spirit- led experience and a chemically induced (counterfeit) one. Both Eshon and C.H.R.I.S. show a command of the task at hand as they aim to blow the buzz and high of those who smoke and drink to a lie. As this song ends, another hidden track of sorts awaits as Tani Selah, Eshon's wife, brings the intro for "Cloud College" to life. The problem here is that these are her only bars on the project, it would have been great to hear her impressive style a bit more. That leads us to the aforementioned closing song that features Copywrite, IV His Son, and Big Fil. Tee-Wyla is responsible for constructing this epic track and all four dudes spit their best verse to hammer home the ultimate intent of this album. "Something's changing about me", IV harmonizes in thorough fashion, expressing the clarity that comes with dying to self and trusting in Christ to take us to levels unreachable by works.
One thing that is hard to argue is how awesomely expansive the sky seems whether you're on the ground looking at the clouds or in the clouds looking at the miniscule scale of the ground. This is not by accident because it reminds us just how small we are in comparison to the Creator and His complete Creation. Eshon does well in expressing this on BRTMH, magnifying the Majesty of Christ while still meticulously deconstructing the misdirection of man. Lyrically, there have not been many better than Eshon and this album only further cements that truth in place (I could have quoted almost every lyric on this album). As impressive as his writing ability is, it's augmented by an effortless, grace- dipped delivery. Some artists reveal a striving to be heard, understood, or "felt" but Eshon passionately presents whatever the matter is with no such forced feeling or insecurity.
From a beat selection/ sound quality standpoint, this project is largely impressive to me and is even a bit more than most of us who waited with baited breath expected. Bringing together the varied talents of producers like BMII, Eons D, Rising Son, Preppy, Street Orchestra, HotHandz, Kevin Franklin, and Tee-Wyla, this album was fairly coherent in spite of the number of musicians. The mix was uneven in spots but wasn't anything that would restrict the enjoyment of this impressive finished product. I will go ahead and put this in my top five for the year and encourage anyone who has not yet listened to this project to do so expeditiously. Whether you've been sleeping much too long, got hip when he cleaned out his closet, or started running with him on the streets, now is the time to look down from the clouds and see what the Lord has privileged Eshon to share.
Categorical Ratings Breakdown:
Beat Selection/Production: 4/5
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