James Gardin – Moleskines & Pocketsquares [Review]
Can five songs to an EP hold great assessment? The EP is hailed celestial when it comes to an artist like James Gardin(@JamesGardin) that can take Sunday school lessons and compact them into one succinct hip-hop sermon and a producer of vast musical intellect like Trebles and Blues that uses classic soul and jazz sounds to accompany the artist’s ceremonious gospel. The album’s mesmeric title is interpreted as glorious for its underlying theme and conveying message.
Moleskines and Pocketsquares are attractive garments worn as fashion decoration. However, not everything that glitters is gold. Underneath lavish moleskins and designer pocket squares lies a bruised emcee battling his demons expressed in song. Strip the emcee of his majestic robes, the listener can vividly paint a canvas of his lacerations throbbing in agony exasperating for healing.
Gardin’s probing lyricism, poignant delivery, and unconventional storytelling is patented in “Better Days” featuring soulstress Phourthelove (for the love). He sorely spits his rising down as a solo artist trying to make his ghetto dreams and musical aspirations into reality while the singer spills her heartfelt essence in song complementing his scholasticism in hip-hop to refinement. “Dinner For Two” comes across as Lupe Fiasco and A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Paris Tokyo’ and ‘Electric Relaxation’ respectively in concept. Gardin wines and dines his prize jewel possession on a romantic escapade- an exceptional record that strips from the systematic Top 40 format that consist of sexually explicit content that appeals sordid and irrational, holding little to no imagination.
The emotional “Cry” changes the entire mood of the EP where life trickles downward spiral. Gardin details the mêlées of depression leading to suicidal thoughts- a song that exposes the hip-hop artist’s naked truth of living in guilt and shame without seeking treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third cause of death among African-American males between ages 15 and 24 and suicide death rates among African American males are five times that of African American women. Therefore, “Cry” is pioneering with guts for breaking silence on an issue kept under rug. “Selah” closes the EP like a journal entry as the more one reads Gardin’s thoughts the more one appreciates his artistry.
Hip-hop artist James Gardin is the tidal wave of a new conscious hip-hop movement- a kind that cultivates in depth critical and analytical thinking with seismic life philosophy. What is revitalizing about Gardin’s talented aptitude is his inability to mimic his conscious hip-hop counterparts that brag consistently on materialism and exposing the women they slept with. Rarely a vulgar word is expressed in Pocketsquares and Moleskins, which gives one’s ears a pair of angel wings. Overall, James Gardin’s ministry is a page in the Bible that is still left as unwritten for he has a lifetime to fulfill his driven purpose life in the genre. Gardin’s discography is biographically therapeutic proving in hip-hop culture to be the utmost POWERFUL!
-Hector De La Rosa