Is | Pronounced Ease | Review

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Is | Pronounced Ease | Review

Pronounced Ease is the recent release from Is, pronounced ease. Capish?

Why Pennsylvania rapper Is couldn’t label himself Ease is a discussion for another day, but the title of his recent release serves as a guide to the not unreasonable problems associated with pronouncing the name. The mixtape came out a few months back and as is always the way, I find myself catching up with the backlog of albums I’ve struggled to fit into my playlist.

Is eases us into the playlist with a simple intro titled Doormat. His easy going – freestyle flow misleads the listener, vocally, as the second track Pronounced exhibits a far tighter style that continues throughout the release. The beat on this second track is borrowed from the highly respected producer Nujabes and is upbeat with prominent keys and jazz stylings accompanied by a classic hip-hop drum arrangement. Self referential lyrics form something of an introduction to the rapper.

Video games form the subject matter for Arcade. Very different in style the electronic track with 8bit effects and classic games samples forms the base for Is to reference classic titles with the assistance of guest vocalist Pleb. 8 Thousand is short timing in at around one and a half minutes, but restores the classic hip-hop sound that continues into Familiar Places produced by and featuring Bumble.

ParKing is a track I played on The Unheard Nerd Mixtape Podcast a while ago that somehow blends a lazy flow with an upbeat tone. Taking the mood down a touch, Bliss is a subdued track, musically, with vocals that contrast somewhat from Is who delivers his raps with as much force as on other tracks, where in this instance the music perhaps calls for a softer approach similar to guest producer and vocalist CA on his bars.

The afore mentioned Pleb, Bumble and CA all feature on Scooby Snacks, another short track over a whimsical beat with the occasional sample from the classic cartoon. Phresh Coat features atmospheric production and although the vocals come across a little raw, somehow this track really strikes a chord with me, though perhaps not the most accomplished or polished track on the release the overall effect is very satisfying. Bottle Collection concludes the mixtape on a mellow tip with another track musically attributed to bumble.

It’s always hard to put together a cohesive body of work when mixing up beats from different sources and producers, the tone and flow will always be at odds, but on the whole Pronounced Ease sits pretty well. Is – is clearly a talented vocalist but suffers a little from a limited range of delivery. He spits hard even when a gentler touch would have greater effect. His style works well on a busy or strong beat where the vocals need to cut through, but on a melodic or minimalist track it’s somewhat abrasive.

Criticisms aside Pronounced Ease is an enjoyable experience and well worth the download. Check it out on bandcamp now.


Will Harrison

About the author | Will Harrison

Founder of The Unheard Nerd. A husband and father of two girls, Will is a fan of Nerdcore Hip-Hop, a comics fiend, a podcast host and champion of independent nerd culture. | Follow will on twitter: @TheUnheardNerd

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