D|REVIEWS: E-Man Bates – Be Careful Be Safe
REVIEW – E-MAN BATES “be careful be safe”
Speaking from first & third person experiences throughout his life emcee E-Man Bates delivers his eight record EP “Be Careful Be Safe” touching on a multitude of personal stories & tribulations. “Green Balloons” provides an entrance with E-Man Bates speaking on the project’s substance before leading into a lyrical foundation that opens the door into his life & gives listeners a peak into who he is. That door swings open as if reaching through the projects cover artwork & has you traveling further into “Flashbacks” that has Avery Norris & Lola Tea provide vocal assistance with a soulful synth-like mix thats melds in between the storytelling abilities of E-Man Bates.
The next track comes in abruptly after flashing back & on “I Don’t Know” he begins touching on a darker side of the mind & hiding behind alcohol. Details of the growth & struggles that come with depression are highlighted as the emcee expresses how he took control & shifted his focus into more meaningful directions. I can appreciate an artist who isn’t afraid to touch on the topic of depression & even more so those who can use that depression to fuel an outlet into a creative path.
“Angry Gohan” has the female reporter/interviewer you heard earlier in the EP returning to question E-Man Bates about rumors on social media claiming that he hasn’t been as focused on his music & that beer itself as well as his blogging endeavor Beats & Brews has taken away from his musical shine. Quick to dispute those very rumors & prove theirs no reason he can’t do both “Angry Gohan” brings the most hype & heaviest hitting record midway through the eight record letting him talk his shit well closing out with a little reasoning behind his drinking.
Fitting to bring up liquor as “White Russian Mano” builds off the previous in what feels like an extension of “Angry Gohan” providing a double center in the middle of the project sandwiched between more storytelling oriented derivatives. The albums first single “Holy Water” speaks of a new day well moving forward E-Man Bates explains how his “mental thermostat has no control” yet his “brain is a blessing”. That blessing shows through his most sing-song verse of the album, the second verse of “Holy Water” touches on performing at a metal fest & starting Beats & Brews & provides one of my favorite verses across the eight song EP. I especially dug the “widow maker” line snuck inside that second verse & the sample-like sounding voice inside the verse dies off before leading into the title track.
“Be Careful Be Safe” brings a fast paced live sounding display of E-Man Bates that sounds built for a live band on stage…that is before about mid-way through the record you hear the jazzy sounds of trumpet lace the backdrop for E-Man Bates tribute to his mother, rest in peace. It’s a moving, descriptive, & emotional take on their relationship that he drives over the beat that builds intensity behind the central idea of “Be Careful Be Safe” before drowning out in more trumpet. That drowning trumpet brings us back to that live band sound with the crowd cheering in what proved one of my favorite cuts on an what has played out as as very consistent record. The title track has more to it before the final bonus with what sounds like some throwback early recording / lost tapes type sounds & plays well to the diversity of sounds I’ve found across the whole project.
“MSML” is that very bonus bringing in a chopped/screwed voice before one of the harder flows coming from Bates in this strong record that I thoroughly enjoyed as a closing. “MSML” you come to discover is acronym for Music Saved My Life – a fitting slogan to “Be Careful Be Safe” an album that touches on depression, loss, personal struggles, & growth. In what has been a terrific year for hip hop releases E-Man Bates fits inside that pocket of must listen projects & proves that he can focus his music still shines regardless of juggling multiple passions. There’s the perfect amount of music here to allow for consistency in both theme & being able to showcase his abilities without any filler tagging along that might’ve stretched out an album that does a great job of absorbing its substance with production that fits & E-Man’s ability to tell stories of life efficiently & effectively. – COMMi$$ION