Concept albums have proven to be the undoing of even the most seasoned artist. More often than not they’re either weighed down by their theme, limiting the songwriting in the process, or the concept itself is so loosely incorporated that it barely registers as a concept at all. I can count on one hand the number of good concept albums I’ve heard in my years as a music enthusiast, so I was immediately worried when learning that up-and-coming rapper 7even Thirty would not only be attempting to craft a full blown concept album, but that it would also serve as his official debut. Thankfully the Mississippi native manages to turn in a fairly impressive, if slightly flawed, LP. The concept is as follows: 7even Thirty, under the guise of Max Redrum, crash lands on earth with the sole intent of wreaking havok. Of course things don’t exactly go down as planned, and Max finds himself learning to enjoy the human experience. The outer space concept may not be the most unique angle to work, but it does offer a fairly interesting take on what is essentially gangster rap in disguise.
Like many conceptual records, it doesn’t take long before 7even loses his focus and the concept simply fades into the background. At times the only thing holding the record together is the superb Ziggy Stardust-meets-Outkast production, which does a wonderful job of conveying the alien atmosphere. The first few tracks effectively establish the story and narrative, but by the fourth track, “Getup!!!”, 7even has completely broken character and firmly grounds himself in the process, rapping in the third person: “Something weird always coming out of his mouth / And he don’t really sound like he come out of the south.” Still, the album works as a whole, even when the concept falters. 7even is a more than capable mc who effortlessly flexes his talents, and the production he’s picked fits the vibe to a T. Considering this is only his debut album, I think it’s fairly safe to say he’s going to be one to keep an eye on, even if that means turning your head to the stars.