The self-titled debut from Puerto Rican born rapper William Morgan (A.K.A. 13) is the album that fellow rapper Eminem’s fans have wanted ever since the release of his 2004 album, Encore. The follow-ups in Relapse and Recovery haven’t been met with quite the vigor from fans as his earlier works. Enter 13, with his brand new self-titled release. The eleven-song album from the once homeless military veteran is easily compared to music from the likes of Eminem. If audiences were to hear this record without knowing it was the New York native, they would believe that it was in fact Eminem. 13’s self-titled debut sounds just like Eminem’s music both stylistically and lyrically. Even 13 himself sounds quite like Mr. Mathers in terms of his voice and rhyming style. The similarities between the two are inescapable, right from the moment that the album opens.
The album’s opener, ‘Hi/Hello’ is quite the first introduction of 13 to his audiences. And it is crafted much as Eminem has done on past records. Until the moment that he introduces himself officially, letting people know who he is, audiences are led to believe that they are listening to Eminem. It is said though, that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Eminem would in fact be flattered by the fact that this artist sounds so much like him all the way around. Thirteen doesn’t let up once throughout the course of the album’s eleven songs. From one song to the next, each one is hard-hitting in its own way. One of the hardest hitting of the album’s tracks is the song, ‘Houston We Have a Problem.” Richy Nix guests on the track. The song opens with the ominous strains of a piano. The piano part stays on as 13 raps about his tough upbringing and of his adult life. The picture he paints is one of a man that has so much turmoil in his life going all the way back to his childhood growing up around drugs and babies born to moms on drugs. It’s a tough picture to see. But it is definitely impactful in hearing this.
Just as powerful as ‘Houston We Have a Problem (ft. Richy Nix)’ is the album’s midway point, ‘Alter Ego.’ He writes about finding God despite everything that he has been through in life, and how he wishes he had that American dream of having a child and a wife. He writes, “Hey what up/My life was never easy/Raised up in the ghetto/You would never wanna be me/I’m a product of an adult something crazy/See me rise up to the top/Then I promise/Best believe me/something I never know/Is why society is so cold….I had to slowly realize/That my pain is why I rise/Once I reach up to the top/Then I push the pain aside/What a life, what a life/Oh man, what a life/All I really want/A couple kids and a wife/That’s alright/It’s a battle/It’s a fight/Imma fight with all my might…forever hold on tight.” As ominous as the song sounds, musically, it’s really quite the uplifting and inspiring piece that many people will understand and appreciate in their own way. And it’s just one more part of what makes this album one that any hardcore rap fan will appreciate in whole.
Audiences will appreciate 13’s songs both for their music and for their hard-hitting lyrics. There is not one bad song throughout the course of the album. The music isn’t all that audiences will appreciate from this record. The album’s production values are what make the music sound so good. The mix of the piano parts, the occasional guitars and the beats is a very good touch. No one part overpowers the other at any point throughout the album. The same can be said of the vocals. They are just as well balanced with the album’s other elements. They all work together to make this an album that any purist rap fan will enjoy. It serves to prove that just as with the world of rock music, indie rappers can be just as good as the big names. 13’s new self-titled debut is available now. It can be downloaded via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/thirteen/id667109934. And fans can keep up with the latest from 13 online at http://www.facebook.com/13isgodsend and http://newyork13.com.
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