Merely a Spark
Fire in the Dark is a fitting title for Old Money’s debut, a creative spark with the intent to brighten the dimly lit crossroads presently facing hip hop. Unfortunately, instead of fireworks, the record is merely a fizzle from a signal flare. Ahmad Julian and Andre Oswald are among the latest crop of hip hop artists to venture into the sociological side of hip hop in the vein of greats like De la Soul and A Tribe Called Quest. Although they are on the right path, sometimes the message seems jumbled and lost.
There are a few noteworthy moments that stand out on this LP. The beats on “Swahili and Dough” and “Rumble in Tenochtitlan” show the potential Old Money possess as producers. The mix of world music with contemporary drum and bass creates a nice ambiance but the tracks fall short on lyrical content and delivery.
“Doctor, Doctor” starts out with a Chris Rock joke about Robitussin being the go-to drug of choice for poor families, followed by Old Money introducing the chorus with lyrics like, “You better learn to control that cough/ if we pay doctor the lights go off.” This song is a great social commentary on the problems with the price of healthcare in America and ring true in today’s climate.
The stand-out track on this album is, surprisingly, an instrumental one. “Uhura” is perfect. The tribal drum beats mixed with soft synths are done beautifully. This is really the bread and butter of Old Money– makes one wonder if they would make better full time producers than rappers.
Old Money’s Fire in the Dark tries harder than most debut albums, but in a world of ADD audiences there’s not much there to keep a listener’s attention. If you start this record expecting an explosion, don’t be surprised when you find just a flash in the pan.