Grow up: Young rapper needs time

Black Market
The Wall
Strong Quality Music

I first met Black Market a few months back while hanging out down at the 91.9 station. I was there to support some friends of mine who were debuting their new EP on the Boombox, Charlottesville's late night hip-hop show.

Black Market and his crew were all there plugging his new LP, The Wall. His manager/label owner was also present handing out flyers and promotional samplers of the album. I was a nobody to most of the people in the room. By that I mean to them I was not a player in this rap game.

After receiving a sampler and flyer, I was pretty eager to meet this guy. When the round of cordial greetings came to me, I was shocked to see that Black Market was the slight young kid standing in the corner with his hat and head low. When I shook his hand, he barely glanced up to make eye contact. The vibe was less than inviting.

I quickly turned away, unimpressed by his demeanor, and moved my attention to other things (among which picking my cuticles was a high priority).

After the session I hopped in my car and popped in the sampler. The first track had a nice party vibe. The production was solid. I could see that this was intended to be the first radio single. The track loop was a bit repetitive, but for the most part club tracks are supposed to be that way. Black Market's rhymes were well thought out and flowed nicely over the staccato beat. He didn't spit anything terribly impressive, but I was interested to hear more.

Market's manager slipped me a copy of the full length later. I had a long drive, so I popped in the CD. The intro cut was an annoying minute-plus of Black Market talking about how his time had come. All the while his narrative was sprinkled with sound effects– a kind of pseudo-Jay Z introduction. I skipped it.

As a matter of fact, a minute into the next three tracks prompted me to skip them also. I did stop at the Illustrious-produced "The #1 Contender," a battle track that served some witty punch lines. The next track, "I Know Now," was pretty weak. I was getting discouraged.

"Daily Bread" came next, a minimalist track with some bounce. Aside from the cheesy synth strings brought in mid-way through the song, it had some flare.

Market's lyrics seem more focused and less derivative of other commercial rappers. My favorite cut is probably the title track, coincidentally produced by Illustrious. I used a sample from Jeremy Storch's "I Feel a New Shadow Now," made famous as the intro music to DJ Shadow's groundbreaking Endtroducing album.

Nice touch. The album ended the same way it began– with a self-indulgent outro.

I listened to the album a few more times before I shelved it. Each listen became more enjoyable, but I still wanted more from Black Market. There's nothing daring about The Wall. It pretty much sticks to the standard "here's a rap record" formula.

With a little more maturity and life experience, Black Market could do well. Until then, there are other albums I would rather listen to.

Black Market