Slaine – A World With No Skies

I really think it’s a disservice to compare a new rapper to an established vet right off the bat, but on his debut solo album World With No Skies, Slaine sounds a lot like Eminem. There is no way around it. Mostly it comes in the way he spits his lines. Multi-syllabic rhymes, or as Eminem calls them “compound syllables” are all over this record. Not that Em was the first to do it. Big Daddy Cane and many others did it, but the similarities are there to anyone who has an objective ear. That being said, the album is still good; influences be damned, I had a lot of fun listening to World With No Skies.

The title track may be my favorite track because of, what else, the chorus, the hook. There is this evil little low synth overdub, like probably at the low end of a bass, that adds this sense of eeriness to the song and the chorus. The drums are a little more complex than your average rap song. While that is greatly appreciated, it’s also nice to see that Slaine didn’t get tripped up at all over it. This song flows like precision, like a doctor operating on your cerebellum.

“99 Bottles” is from The Town soundtrack, so it’s probably a lot better known, but it’s also the song that sounds most like Eminem. The playfulness of the song (like the belching to begin the song) and in the lyrics is a key similarity. But there was a lyric that caught me, “I don’t care what you take me as, A snake in the grass or maybe I’m an atheist”. The way Slaine threw it out there, it sounded like Eminem doing “99 Problems”. I don’t know if that was the goal, but it’s there.

Something else that I hear on this album is that some of the songs don’t sound alike. This album had to have been written over a really long time, because the way the lyrics and music come off is very random. For example, B-Real of Cypress Hill is a guest on “Crazy” that uses this really awesome harpsichord sample. It’s this vibrant and colorful piece, probably something like Bach or something, and it adds this great dimension to the song. But then you listen to a song like “Voices of Apocalypse” and it’s this kinda cold and sterile technological song that comes off kinda flat, save the rapping from Slaine himself. This dynamic presents itself a lot throughout the album. I’m not quite sure if I like it or not as it is kinda jarring, but it’s also nice to not have something that’s different. I’m sure a lot of this has to do with the fact that this is Slaine’s first album, he’s only going to learn what works, and what doesn’t and will invariably get better.

I just hope that if his sound truly is this much like Eminem’s and he’s not just doing it to get the rappers attention, that he finds a way to separate himself from Em. Otherwise we could be looking at a case of a Metallica wannabe band just jacking their sound and never going anywhere instead of like a Megadeth who took the same style and went in another direction.