There’s a word that Creed Chameleon says on this album, one of many, that I can use to describe his music: heart. Some will say that a lot of today’s hip-hop has a lot of heart, but I will tell you: it doesn’t. Give me something with heart and soul, and what you’re doing is giving everyone a part of your time and effort, but your talent. I don’t care who you are, where you’re from, or whatever: give me that in multiples and you will be able to pull it off.
I’ve been a fan of Creed Chameleon for awhile and I will admit, a part of it has to do with him being from Hawai’i. I don’t want anyone to think “oh, local pride, he’s going to gloat over this guy, let me go elsewhere”, that’s not the case here. There’s a part of that local pride, whether you’re from there, living there, or had to move. Creed now resides in Arizona but that does not and will not change my views on his music. Of course the reader is probably saying “you already went through two paragraphs in this review without mentioning a damn thing about the music, except that it has heart. You need to tell me why” and if you made it this far, then here you go.
The Vanishing Act may or may not be Creed’s sly way of saying he pulled one in his move from Hawai’i to Arizona, or maybe it has to do with his approach to the music, or maybe it has nothing to do with anything. It’s an assumption. But what I do not assume is what I hear here and what I’ve heard from him over the years. Creed is someone who applies a level of knowledge and skill into his music, never going beyond his capabilities nor does he try to add a bit of “extra” for the sake of doing so. He could, but what he does is him, this is his style. What I like is his storytelling, I could use a word like “poet” but anyone who writes and rhymes well doesn’t have to be a poet, even though he’s poetic. He reveals a bit of vulnerability in “Unforgiven”, driven with a Metallica song that pushes the point even further, but he shows that he’s not a machine but very much human, with the same kind of emotions that isn’t above hip-hop.
There are so many highlights on this mixtape, and let me say this before I continue. When one mentions that it’s a “mixtape”, it technically means it’s not a proper album even though the material here is just as good as a proper album. Consider this a sampling of what Creed can do and does, but instead of creating a mess of songs under a one project umbrella, it’s simply a collection of songs that feel and sound good. His work with producer/MC Osna are a highlight, including the Kanye West chipmunk funk of “So Far”, “In Life’s Summary”, and the smoothed out “Special Smile”, where Creed speaks about making music without limits, even though the means of obtaining music was not as free (figuratively and literally) as it might be today. When he brings on Mic Phenom from Seattle and the incredible Tassho Pearce into the scene, you are hearing some of the best hip-hop this year, as they take it on like superfriends and just deliver.
It’s hard to say which are the best songs, because the whole thing is just sharp, with little that I could call filler. The main man Trek Life rips shit up with Creed in “9 To 5”, as they share their opinions about putting their time in to make things work, as DJ Packo delivers some fierce scratches. This could easily be a hit song if it was pushed this way. Need another reason to hear this? DJ Babu handles the production in “Sarah”, and it’ll be a track that’ll make you stop in your tracks, lift up your hand, and celebrate.
Before I wrote this review, I had made a post on Twitter on how I felt two songs on The Vanishing Point reminded me of the chemistry shared between Method Man and Redman. I made this comparison to the two songs on the album where Creed brings in Prie. I’m a huge fan of Prie, and while both have unique styles on their own, together they come off like a team who are united. After I made the post and it was RT’d, someone was irked and felt that all comparisons were a bit foolish. Now, even when I said that my comparison does not suggest that Creed and Prie sounded anything like Meth or Redman, the reply I had was more or less “eh, same thing”. My thought was “aah, but my comparison was a lure towards you to respond, didn’t it?” That’s what my suggestion is about. There is something about a 2-man team in hip-hop that works, or a 3-man, 4-man, an egoless team that focuses on the word “teamwork”. Yes, you’re going to throw in your all to make you sound good, but for the same of team work, you’re going to make it work, and that’s what these two do in “The World Is Cold” and “Still In Love”, and I’m thinking yes: less ego, more of an emphasis on making damn good music.
On top of that, some fine production from Bad News, Guidebook, and Maineframe, and Osna’s work on this continues to impress. If Creed and Osna ever work together on a full project, even a 5-song EP, it could be ridiculous. My point in saying this is that regardless of who he works with, Creed shows he has heart not only in how he writes and how he performs, but how he brings that on with who he works with to help him make these songs. You want some hot quotes from lines or verses, nah, go listen to it yourself. It’s free, but allow his music to be a lure towards you wanting to hear more. Make an effort, and Creed will too, although he does this by default because it’s from the heart.
(The Vanishing Act can be downloaded for free by heading to 2DopeBoyz.com.)