The esteemed, albeit uneven Hieroglyphics crew have produced another underground star. Long time member Pep Love delivers a full-length rich in refreshing self-awareness and uplifting lyricism. Lofty as his aspirations and otherworldliness are, Pep Love maintains a balance between esoteric science dropping and straight ahead rhyme skills. His lyrics are not so obtuse as to render them useless, nor does he create an air of self-righteousness. Rather his self-conviction is what shines through on tracks like "A New Religion," "Ascension" and "My Energy." Pep keeps it down to earth on his ode to self-discipline "Grime and Grit," a celebration of Cali life, "Pacifc Heights," and the battle-oriented "The Fight Club."
Production for the most part is enjoyable without arresting attention. The beats rarely match up to the complexity of the subject matter, playing second fiddle to Pep’s rhymes and complementing them only in a rudimentary way. Ascension is a worthy album thanks to the intelligence and focus of its lyricism, providing material for self-reflection - a rare quality in current hip-hop.
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total)
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total). He saw an alto sax on my neck and said: Hey, how about you there, would you like to play something for us? I played a piece with the piano. OK, said Lee, how about you play something unaccompanied? Oh yeah! I was deep into transcribing Sonny Stitt and pretty much into playing as fast as possible as many right notes as possible. So I played Oleo in about 300 beats per minute and was very proud of myself. Lee was tapping his foot all the way through. Hmm, he said, that was in time and all that... (I thought - yeah, of course, haha!) and then he said, You've got a lot of quantity, how about quality? It took me 15 years to realize what he meant.