I have had plenty of time to listen to Asheru‘s album Insomnia since I purchased it back in February. While the album has a lot of creative content and top-notch production scattered throughout, it just is not as good as I had hoped.
One aspect of the album I find particularly irksome is the mixtape feel which persists throughout. For example, there is gratuitous, unnecessary use of echo effects and repetition of verses on many of the songs. Each of these elements done once or twice wouldn’t be too bad but I found myself fast-forwarding and skipping songs after these novelty-starved “techniques” went from mere nuisance to full fingernails-across-the-chalkboard distraction. I consider myself a patient person and I became annoyed waiting over 1 minute for the lyrics to start in a song that is only 3.5 minutes long.
With that said, Asheru uses the album to tackle many topics either avoided entirely or treated superficially at the hands of lesser rappers. My favorite song is “If” as it is an example of the trait mentioned in the previous sentence with great delivery and a knocking beat. Microphone fiend extraordinaire, Talib Kweli, makes a guest appearance on the song to liven things up as well.
Sadly, there isn’t a longer version of the “Boondocks Theme Song.” I anticipated as much but hoped it would be buried as a hidden track since that song started me on this musical quest in the first place.
Overall, Insomnia gets a 3.5 out of 5 on the “Tyrone Biggums” scale for the creativity of its lyrical content; gutsy subject matter and Asheru’s impeccable, effortless flow.