It’s been a little over a month since Savior Monroe presented his audibly cinematic full-length album “Lost Innocence Awakening” to the world. Cinematic indeed as it took me that entire month to soak in the fabric of all that is “LIA“. From its song arrangement, vivid storytelling, little bursts of commentary, & bars full of thought provocation Savior Monroe brings us for a deep dive inside a journey he has crafted for all willing to listen. A sucker for storytelling, not only does Savior Monroe execute stories in peak form he is also to drive home some inspirational messages & meanings that drive home like social commentaries aimed to uplift.
There is a certain journey Savior Monroe is taking us on & he gives us guidance from beginning to end via the song notes provided on his Bandcamp page for the album. I’ve decided to include these to add some context behind the songs as I review them one by one as a listener. I spent a lot of time with this album & as usual, I will give my individual breakdowns of each. Here is the journey I took alongside Savior Monroe well taking in “Lost Innocence Awakening“.
Savior Monroe: This is the journey of Savior Monroe and how he awakens the God within, allowing him to add power to his words and negate the Apocalypse with music. “
Savior Monroe: “The Rip” The end starts at the beginning. The world is being ripped apart by mother nature, technology, weaponry and other threats from those on top of the hierarchy. It is up to the Savior to set things straight using the power of words and influence, and what better way to do it than with music.
01 “The Rip” – I was instantly brought in from the instrumental roaring into Savior’s first verse. Right off rip I was met with “The Rip” thriving with imagery & a Red Dead reference! The narrative is laid out for an album chocked full of depth that takes multiple listens to begin to interpret. It becomes clear upon the introduction that you’re in for some top caliber storytelling.
Savior Monroe: “Past Self” In order to prepare for and combat the end of the world, Savior Monroe decides to go back in time and warn his younger self about the future to prepare him for what’s about to come. The key to saving the world is to make sure Savior continues to do music despite the trials ahead of him.
02 “Past Self” – Telling his younger self not lose itself, Savior dives inside an inner struggle between a young him. He goes on speaking on his knowledge & lessons well-providing guidance. The lyricism is polished & engaging enough that he is able to pull you into his messages & “Past Self” is one of my favorite examples of it on the album.
Savior Monroe: “Stay In Your Lane” As Savior Monroe grows and becomes more attached to music, there comes times where he is enticed to do something else. Luckily God put people in his life to keep him on the straight and narrow living positively so he can continue to chase his dream to be an artist. Little does he know the world depends on it.
03 “Stay In Your Lane” – I love the reflection element of this album, & after listening over & over I catch new things each time. The detail behind each record on “Lost Innocence Awakening” is pristine & this story of a few key people God has placed inside his path steering him to stay on the right track in life is portrayed excellently.
Savior Monroe: “Guilty Until Proven Innocent” Once Savior Monroe becomes confident with his skill as an artist, he develops the mentality that he can murder every other artist. But if you’re a strong enough ally, he’ll recruit you. So he teams up with Kyo and continues to chase his dream and improve his craft.
04. Guilty Until Proven Innocent (feat. Kyo) – Lucky for Kyo his recruitment spares his life as we digest the first feature on the album. “I’m guilty of killing in profound ways“& in ways that perfectly defines this song. “Not even Armageddon can end the type of war we in“….the quotables here are too many to mention. Even listening over and over to this project I find different things upon each take.
Savior Monroe: “Touch The Clouds” Savior Monroe continues his onslaught and elevation with his music and recruits another powerful ally who goes by the name of 1 I Sinny. Together they continue their lyrical rampage.
05. Touch The Clouds (feat. 1 I Sinny) – At first, the beat to this one fell a bit overpowering verses the vocals to me on “Touch The Clouds” one with 1 I Sinny. Yet as it went forward the ongoing repeat “guitar” I believe is hard to miss hypnotizes you & the emcees go bar for bar with solid execution from both.
Savior Monroe: “Never Satisfied” After years of work and elevation, Savior Monroe realizes that no matter what he does he will not be able to please everybody. Despite that realization, he continues to pursue music and elevate.
06. Never Satisfied – It’s a MARK COOPER production & a fine one at that plus “I’m in the studio eighteen hours, getting it in because it gave me power“… Well, Savior, it shows. It’s always the hardest albums to critique when I myself find myself having anything “critical to say about it“. In “Never Satisfied” is Savior VS EVERYBODY. Embedded in these lyrics are messages I feel aimed directly at society & they hit when you hear them. When the beat switches up in this song MARK COOPER shines behind a shining emcee. A standout track on the album.
Savior Monroe: “Flesh N Blood” After the revelation that music isn’t the only thing he’ll need to become the God responsible for saving the world, Monroe increases his knowledge and skill simultaneously. He develops the skills and the wisdom to negate the end of the world and begins to do so aggressively by killing all of those not down for his cause. The corrupt, blind and manipulative.
07. Flesh N Blood – “He ain’t got a third eye so he don’t see like that” over the powerful instrumental. I love the way the beat switches up here to as the words “Flesh N Blood” come in. Powerful messages coincide with that instrumentation as well here in a continuation of Savior’s story.
Savior Monroe: “The Same Us” Savior Monroe’s next step in his journey is to reveal the corrupt authority system, so he sets out to expose those abusing their power. Once exposed, the awaken can handle them appropriately.
08. The Same Us – A modern aged version of “Fuck The Police” this record feels like a new twist with boom bap slash lo-fi vibes. FUCK TWELVE, & the abuse of power that certain individuals possess. It’s a vivid description of this twisted society & fucked up system of today.
Savior Monroe: “Threat To Society” Savior Monroe searches further and finds out the corruption is deeper than he originally thought. The children are being turned into weapons. So in order to awaken the world, he exposes the secret behind the child rebel soldiers. From this point on, Savior decides to focus on saving the children, because they are the future.
09. Threat To Society – In a battle against life’s ills Savior Monroe comes off as a threat to this society. He illustrates throughout his verse in elegant form. A storytelling natural ….murder. MURDER…kill….KILL….had me feeling homage to Nas or at least reminiscent. Savior Monroe is in polished arm on this entire project. Attacking “threats” all over the world in a public service announcement to watch out for your children.
Savior Monroe: “How Many Views” Savior focuses on the young ladies after he exposes the child rebel soldiers. He finds out that social media is one of the main weapons used against our young, vulnerable girls. It acts as a drug and every level of attention is like a stronger hit. Sally Peterson is a huge example of this and her following is massive. So Savior believes once he exposes her, the rest of the females falling victim to the ills of what is started through social media will change as well.
10. How Many Views – Thirst traps galore for females lost in a world of searching for views. Another great example of storytelling but what’s most impressive isn’t just the clear visuals painted via lyricism but the extremely catchy chorus this song drives home. Breaking down the breakdown of a girl swept through the effects of being trapped in the chase for views.
Savior Monroe: “A Place Called Home” Savior Monroe continues his journey to save the youth by going back to his neighborhood. He runs into a young black boy who resembles his youngest brother. He decides to study and focus on him. Once he has gathered enough information he can use that to save all of the young, black underprivileged youth from not only his own neighborhood, but from all over the world. Thank God for our children he chants as he continues his journey to negate the Apocalypse.
11. A Place Called Home – A trip back home in what feels like self-analyzation in an intense version. There was a particular chunk of bars here that grabbed me, I’ve included them below. “A Place Called Home” became home as one of my favorites on the album.
“Wasn’t my dad but he played the role
Another father figure and he would take control
I would praise the code and never break the mode
Until that crazy motherfucka would take the soul
Of my momma shook, no wonder I’m a crook
Now my granny want me to read a Bible book
Nothing in this bitch was teaching me survival
Tryna trick a little kid just to feed the idols”
– Savior Monroe
Savior Monroe: “Seraph” Even with all of the knowledge and power Savior Monroe has gained, it still isn’t enough to accomplish his goal. Eventually his mother falls ill and passes away from Cancer, one of the things Savior Monroe is trying to provide a coping mechanism for. Even though she passes, Savior is blessed with the strength and additional power from her to continue and eventually complete his journey.
12. Seraph – My favorite song on the album. Having lost my Grandfather to cancer & my father at a young age this song hits home as I sure it does for many who’ve been affected by the monster that is Cancer. Beautiful record.
Savior Monroe: “Salvation” Once Savior Monroe gained the additional strength from his mother becoming his guardian angel, there was nothing stopping him from having the power to stop the Apocalypse and save the world with his music. He is the hero we all need. No longer must we wait for the resurrection of a fictional character.
13. Salvation – The fast bouncy flow that comes in right off that bat grabs you, & then this voice taunts behind it as it drives forward. “So you’re looking for a miracle to save our souls, but you never gonna get it from the dead he rose…” chants from the voice of Savior Monroe on this insane production. Insane in a fantastic way. This album builds & grows as it goes. It’s a progressive story to tell is really catapulted by the production that sandwiches it all together.
Savior Monroe: “Blinded” Through all of the criticism, doubting, and deception, Savior Monroe finally Awakens and becomes the God he has been trying to become all of this time. His mission is complete and he can finally prepare to stop the Apocalypse with the power of his words and music.
14. Blinded (feat. MoMo) – No memes with this MoMo. In reference to the song, I haven’t walked the same shoes but I definitely resonate with what’s being said here & personally found relatable moments. This album was enjoyable to listen to in it’s entirety to me & I’ve truly enjoyed the time I’ve spent over and over listening in what I would definitely call one of my more thorough breakdowns.
Savior Monroe: “Reawakening” This is the alternate ending of what could have happened had Savior Monroe not went on his journey. Technology takes over and becomes God instead, and they take over the humans and control them just like the humans used to control technology, essentially turning us all into slaves.
15. Reawakening – An alt ending to a story spun from a web of lyrical fine details. “Reawakening” closes out this incredible story with one ear-twisting finish. “Created from chrome dust’… well this chrome dust certainly has stirred up something great. It took me a few listens & the track notes to understand what at first listen sounded like an audible experiment before realizing I was actually hearing the transition into the technology takeover. The panning effects and deeper voice bridging verses, all as the song becomes more digitized. An alternative ending worthy of finishing an album soaking with creativity.
In closing, we have a serious competitor in terms of albums not just in the Detroit area but nationally with this one. There have been some solid offerings to take in this year but honestly, 2019 has been a slow start for me. In terms of new music, it’s only been a handful of projects I’ve truly got stuck on. This one right here though! I’m expecting it to adorn a heavy rotation over the coarse of the year. Savior Monroe takes us with him through his incredible story, amassed with a brilliant arrangement, & top-notch production. From beginning to end, to even the alt end, it’s almost as if I don’t want it to end. There a very few artists that are able to articulate & execute a concept album such as this, yet this one is executed in incredible form. 9/10
Behind the Scenes with “KILLZ” OPEN MIC Do’s & Dont’s
There is a certain mystique that surrounds the concept of an open mic when it comes to HipHop, especially in the city of Detroit. Some of the feelings towards open mics are amazing and some are purely negative, and today I will tell you the reasons why each opinion exist.
A good open mic/showcase provides a few key things for an artist with one of the most important ones being consistency. The open mic should provide a dope stage, great sound, and a consistent event that is hand picked for talent each week from a list of acts who have taken the responsibility of of signing up. The promotion for the open mic should be heavy as the artist who wanna take the stage and the promoters should post the flyer for the event like they are all apart of it. A lot of people tell me this is crazy for the artist to have to promote along with the promoter when the only person who is getting paid is the promoter. This is an easy explanation. The promoter pays for the rental of the club, the dj, the flyer, and the security usually in the case of an open mic. This is where the $10 per head (usually the entry cost) fee comes into place. The artist receives promotion on the flyer, as well as the stage to promote themselves and hone in on their emcee skills. An artist should take these shows as opportunities to sell Merch and gain fans for the future and the bigger venues that are set to come.
A good open mic gives everyone one chance to shine, because you never know who is out there undiscovered and ready to set the word afire. Money cannot be the objection of the open mic. The focus has to be the music. That is where the one chance comes into play. No matter how lucrative it may be to place any and every rapper on the stage, you must choose the music as the ultimate reason why you say an acts name when calling them to your stage.
The open mic should take place in a bar that pays residuals for music being played in there. Artist who are registered (either with ASCAP or BMI) can report their show and receive income from the performance. That $10 investment can do a lot for an artist if they choose to take the business side serious. The artist should be in the building making new relationships with DJs, videographers, producers and AnRS, the expected atmosphere of a good open mic. If these things are not included in your idea of an open mic, then don’t support it. Rappers please stop performing at the strip club. People don’t like your song or they would pay you for your performance there. The only reason you are up on the stage is because you agreed to throw a certain amount of money for the rent time of that stage, just like a dancer. Trust me as I share this information as I managed a strip club for 7 years. Whenever there was an act that was hot, we paid them for their performance and every week we allowed tons of rappers who were trash to hit the stage because of the amount of money they were prepared to spend in the bar on bottles and girls. Believe this information or don’t, just know that I’m telling you all FACTS my baby NO CAP 🧢.
A good open mic should have a reputation that makes the top notch emcees and A list acts stop through to see what’s going on. This show should provide the vibe of the city. I ran a successful open mic from 2006-2015. Out those 10 years we had all of the hottest acts from the city and more show up. We provided Redman, Devin the Dude, DBCO, Icewear Vezzo, Kashdoll, and Many many more names.
The reach of a good open mic should be nationwide and able to gain an artist respect when they mention they perform there. My brother Supa Emcee represented my open mic night as he rocked in New York along with Talib Kwali and the legendary KRS-1. Several emcees like Nov-Ra and Dman the Champ also took the stage to rep our set with the good people at the easy speak weekly in NY.
Artist please respect the building when hitting an open mic and know that sometimes you may not hit the stage. When a legend comes thru, new comers need to understand that there are people who have 20 years in this game and are amazing at controlling the stage and performing. Don’t take it that you were cut and didn’t get to rock. Take it as you were able to see one of the best people rock that night and enjoy the music and make connections that night. Continue to patronize the event as in the years to come you will love when you receive that legendary treatment for you as well💯👌🏾💪🏾.
This is the guide to an open mic but it is a cheat book. If you follow these steps and remember to provide consistency, you will become a legend yourself amongst your peers and the respect that is provided from that open mic will last for years. Shouts to Lush Lounge (hosted by Kontact and Ike love), Monday nights at the bullfrog (Reddbone), 313wedz (Kkp) , 3dolla Thursday at Alvin’s (Iron fist records), No Bs at the Bullfrog (Kkp), Sunday nights at Status (Don P) and all the dope open mics over the years in Detroit. Know that the open mic is always needed , it just has to be done right. Thanks for the time and if you have something to comment hit me on Twitter and Instagram @iamkillz
Red & Meth Live in Detroit
The Hip Hop gods blessed us when they put solo emcees Red Man and Method Man together. I truly feel that this duo is one of the most slept on in Hip Hop History. How fitting it was that on Michigan’s annual “HASH BASH” day that 2 of hip hops finest smokers hit town brought to you by the HOUSE OF DANK.
Much to our surprised the first act to hit the stage was one of our favorites OBA ROWLAND! Always a beast on the Mic Oba brings the same fun energy you hear on his recordings. Big shout out to his DJ LIMELIGHTZ! Even tho OBA opened the show his dj demanded the same respect as the headliners on that stage. He must have brought the record back 8 times waiting on the light tech to turn the lights down on stage! Thats how you stick together!!! I didnt get to hear “DREAMS” but his set slapped!
Just as much as we wanted to see Red & Meth this show was a MUST attend after seeing Royce Da 5’9 was on the bill! We dont get to shows to early but with Royce on the stage we didnt want to miss a thing. Ripping thru his set with brother Kid Vishiss, Royce gave the home town a little bit of everything running of several of his classic joints. Talked to alot of people walking up to the venue and when i mentioned that Royce was on the show attendees got even more excited. Great to see the Nickle Nine getting the respect he deserves.
By the time you get to your late 40’s i dont see to many people smiling about doing anything. Let alone WORK! For me thats what made this show even more entertaining. I witnessed two what many in hip hop standards would consider “OLD MEN” run circles around what a majority of these artist are doing in hip hop today. No rapping over they lyrics and you could hear EVERY word just like the records, even some light choreography “NO NOT THE NEW EDITION TYPE”. As animated as ever they made sure the crowd knew that the energy we gave them is what we would get in return. After playing for a good hour running the classics they have together, by themselves and even some guest appearances from members of the WU the night was one of a kind. We would like to thank PHRESHPICS84 for sharing her photography!
Mark Cooper aka Player 1 in “THE ALLSPARK”.
The nerdcore specialist is back at it again! Player 1 Mister Mark Cooper brings us along for a hip-hop infused audible video game in his incredible follow up to last year’s stellar “I Am Player One“. Incredible indeed! Well traveling through the game Player 1 gets “super lost” on his way to discovering “THE ALLSPARK“. Aided by Optimus Prime & fused with the lyrical creativity of Mark Cooper’s storytelling & production the produces quite the gem. Crown Royal, Magic ft. Key Jay, & Frame Data were some of the early standouts in the first half of “Allspark“. “Frame Data” was like an in your face retro arcade game beat of gold before sliding into the more mellow “Stormtroopers”.
There is commentary from the album’s host throughout as we hear the analyzation’s of Player 1’s own life & lessons. As we traverse deeper through the game alongside his daunting task to capture the Allspark & return home we are doused with different sounds that scream depth, tying together all the elements & executed precisely in the theme provided.
“Super Saiyan” felt like theme music to the ’80s & was a favorite, when we get verses they fit & and truly help build the songs. This album does justice the mashing of different elements outside the verses themselves to provide a cinematic feel that carries a wide range & packs a punch for the listener.
The remainder of the album finishes out just as strong as it’s beginning & middle, I don’t want to spoil the story so you’ll have to listen for yourself to find out if Player 1 ever found his way & got home. One thing is ensured if you do decide to play the game, it’s one you might just have to play over & over after the first playthrough in this excellent offering from Titan Records Mark Cooper.
Icewear Vezzo – Balance ft. Big Sean
Nolan The Ninja – “Oranges” + “Sportee”
AGiLE SOCiETY X GREG BEARD- JUST FOR YOU
Jonnie Morris – “Eat Tonight”
BayBro – “All I Got”
Behind the Scenes with “KILLZ” (Big Proof Story)
World Premiere: GXWER – LADIDADI ft. MARV WON
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D|REVIEWS – Savior Monroe “Lost Innocence Awakening”
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