Band: The Inner Sanctum
Genre: Hip hop
Where to get it: Bandcamp
The self-titled debut from The Inner Sanctum didn’t leave me with much to write home about, but I’m always willing to give music a second chance. Artists and their music grow and change as they create – a lesson worth remembering when listening to any genre or artist.
Judging by the cover of Chemistry, it seemed like a promising release. Two turntables sit with the band name and EP title, and an empty bottle of beer is left on the ground beside the stand, giving it a more real tone than the cover of their last release (which was also cool but less personal).
The opening track “Offbeat Organization” starts on a related topic: “I’m offbeat like a f***ed-up record.” I have to admit that I was really impressed with this first song. The message is on point. My main problem with their last release was that it was stereotypically misogynistic and had a lot to do with ego. “Offbeat Organization” addresses this loud and clear. “I try to be new breed. I ain’t traditional psychology, but all they wanna hear about are drugs and gynecology and robberies… it’s like they got hip hop locked in a monopoly… Together we’re taking over, bring it back to perfect harmony…” The second voice comes on and echoes some of these same sentiments. Chemistry is definitely more real than their last release, and I like it. Yeah, they talk about the money and reputation later, but this is more self-aware. The piano sample in the back was a good choice for this subject, evoking a classier, pensive feeling.
“Midnight” falls back to the themes of girls and drugs, so it’s not my favorite, but it is catchy. I was surprised to hear some auto-tuning in the chorus. I guess everyone’s doing it now. This track feels like your cliché college person’s anthem for going out on the weekend.
The next track sounded familiar. “Nightfall” gets its name and sample from Jenova7’s track from Soul for Sale. It was interesting to hear how The Inner Sanctum laid lyrics over this instrumental that I already had a very distinct feeling from.
The sentiment in the EP’s first track comes back in “Meloday and Harmonight.” There’s another thought-provoking piano back track, and the lyrics are self-referential. “Should I work a nine to five and stop being stupid?” “Do I only wanna rap about the s*** that people like?” It’s about how one is perceived and why we do what we do. Again, the lyrics in Chemistry put it above its predecessor. It’s not as simplistic. The chorus is melodic and catchy, and the words and syllables just keep rolling out with ease. I also found the sample about LSD really amusing. Nice pick, guys.
After that laidback track comes another two but with a different feel about getting “Oprah rich.” If I didn’t notice it in their last EP, I can really see differences in the different individuals involved in The Inner Sanctum; they talk about very different things and rap with different cadence. They’re all very talented.
“Baby” continues Chemistry’s highly personal feel. It’s a “love song” admittedly, but it’s not bad and stays better than most love songs by not being too sentimental. It’s about more than meets the eye.
The EP finished on a high, energetic not with “Can We?”ft.Ballistik, throwing a bunch of ideas out in one final burst.
Overall, I enjoyed Chemistry much better than The Inner Sanctum. The EP is more intelligent, personal, and has a more pleasant tone – a nice change from the band’s previous release. Check it out!
The eight-track EP is available for download on Bandcamp.com