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Posted on January 17th, 2014 (11:00 am) by Matt Gunderson

Chris Gatsby's lyrics wrestle with intensely personal subjects: sacrificial acts for family members, being a careless rebel against society, and ethical dilemmas he faces every day. At times, he can be as scathingly open as Eminem about his problems on his new debut album, Middleground, Morals, and Money.

On the funk track "Clap Your Hands," he shamelessly admits he "used to let insecurity dominate my ego." It's not the sort of thing people usually like admitting about themselves. Still, that sort of bleak, unflattering self-depiction doesn't come often in hip-hop.

Gatsby is not a shallow thinker, nor is he in any way trite. His lyrics and quotes reflect philosophical acumen. For example, he says on his blurb about himself on his promo site: "A portion of who you are is your words, and all these words make up who I am." It's an interesting insight, and it automatically suggests to us that Gatsby is eschewing the path of least resistance and not just recreating the same mold but bringing his own individuality to the equation. In the same blurb, Gatsby says life is really about seeking the balance between money and morals. In that vein, he describes the adoption of his rapper name as Gatsby as an outgrowth of reading F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby, a tale of American excess and luxury that dwells on those very same issues.

Gatsby doesn't sound so academic as his lyrics come across on paper; however, these are songs that reflect the trend to heady hip-hop, which fuses education and entertainment. Gatsby is able to create complex patterns with his voice, smattering different rhythms together with his vocal chords on several different octaves in a quick time entropy. His tempo is more steady than some artists, though, and he doesn't flit around on different rhythm scales as much as others. But the bottom line is Gatsby is a solid performer with lyrics that are tightly written.

That is, they still make sense, even when they get quicker and more complicated.

Track List:
1. Love It or Leave It
2. 6 Million Ways
3. Keep It Moving
4. Clap Your Hands
5. Live It Up
6. High Class
7. To the Fullest
8. Reckless
9. Vices
10. Sky's the Limit
11. Get My Days By
12. Clap Your Hands Remix (Bonus Track)

Chris Gatsby, Middleground: Money & Morals, reviews, debut album,
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

75 / 100
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