Despite the fact that I listen to a ton of music, create music, and love music, I rarely blog about music. This has to change. So here goes...
When I was down in Austin for SXSW, I had the pleasure of meeting a friendly and charismatic fellow named Shane Eli. He was kinda holding up the wall at the 2DopeBoyz Showcase and while I can't recall how our conversation started, we quickly found ourselves laughing and exchanging info. When I asked what brought him to SXSW, he told me he was a producer, and that he rapped a little too. I told him that I rap, but that I've been slacking on my game and needed to get refocused. He shared some encouragement and let me know he had a free mixtape coming out soon. I promised to check it out.
A few weeks later, I was going through the contacts I'd gained and found Shane's rather stylish business card. So I went to ShaneEli.com and downloaded his mixtape I Can Do Better. I'd highly suggest you do the same.
Little did I know that this guy writes, records, produces and raps on his own music. I also did not expect to download a 19-track album with top-to-bottom quality. After my first play through, my initial reaction was, "This is free?" I was also surprised to learn that Shane has produced for a range of artists from Diggy Simmons to Earth, Wind & Fire. I'm going to say that again... Earth, Wind & Fire... Wait, is this the same humble dude I met in Austin?
I can't lie, I had to completely re-think my project once I heard this album. Guillotine is my favorite track on the record - there's just something real Black Collar about it - while Bo Jackson, City Never Sleeps (ft. Jenny Bapst), and Let’s Ride (ft. Playboy Tre & Rittz) are in a tight race for second place. Two months later, I'm still banging this in my car on a daily basis. Without doubt, this is in my top 5 albums of 2011, and I don't see it falling off the list. The only knock I can offer are that the intros provided by DJ Skee seem out of place and are kind of annoying.
Enough with the jibber-jabber, do yourself a favor and download I Can Do Better (via DJ Booth) by clicking on the picture below. And yes, I know he looks lke Drake. OK, I'm out.