Genesis Elijah has been buzzing for a while now. From guest appearances to freestyles he’s been earning a reputation as a ‘rappers rapper’. After a few solid singles, and an EP at long last we get the first album from Genesis Elijah in 9 years, ‘Private Moments In Public‘.
A loose concept knits the tape together, ‘Private Moments In Public’ speaks to his role as a father and his role as rapper, revealing his private life to the public. A Private Moment, Another Private Moment and The Last Moment, are dotted throughout the album, and show a lighter and more human side to Genesis. They serve as a brief respite from the hard hitting instrumentals and braggadocious talk. They actually serve to make even the cockiest rhymes feel real. When he references being a father, and a career in music needing to feed his family, actually hearing his family fills the rhymes with weight and adds meaning to the songs.
And onto the songs. At 18 tracks, and no real skits, the album should definitely run a little long, but Genesis manages to balance the songs and maintain the pace of the album. An album can only really feel long if it’s repetitive and/or not very good. Private Moments In Public is neither. The versatile production mostly handled by (the brilliantly named) Pastor Dutchie, stops the tape from becoming stagnant and challenges Genesis with 180 degree turns in sound on any given track. From the ‘bright sunny Sunday’ sounding Doing Great to the menacing Out Cold, Genesis can only be pinned down by his bass heavy baritone and quotable punchlines. And Out Cold also features an early favourite:
‘I don’t move with underachievers/ my achievements are a f__k off to my teachers/’
The album is filled with endless quotables, and this speaks to one of the albums strengths. It is an uncompromising UK hip hop album. Neither Genesis, nor the production team try to hide the fact that this is a UK production. There are no suspect transatlantic accents, or amateurish trap influenced instrumentals. It doesn’t try to ape American hip-hop in anyway, and even when there may be something remotely Americana about a particular instrumental, Genesis’s accent drags you right back from any Stateside delusions right back to a Brixton street corner.
Balancing hard hitting boom bap, with tender moments like Fathers Day and Hold My Hand (the latter dedicated to his wife.) The songs never feel like ticking boxes, or trying to appeal to a different crowd, it simply feels like two subjects close to his heart. Fathers Day isn’t just for his daughters, but a discussion about children growing up without fathers. This could easily feel like a cynical move, but the song, like the album is filled with Genesis’s heartfelt realism.
Overall what this album does best is humanise a rapper. There is no superhuman Arnold Schwarzenegger type figure that can shoot a million people and come out unharmed and without a conviction. Nor a man who sleeps with endless strippers and never has to face the consequences. No, what you have is a father who is confident in his skills as a a rapper, and is proud of both aspects of his life.
Open, honest, aggressive and most of all sincere Private Moments In Public is a fantastic insight into not just a rappers mind but also the what UK hip-hop could be.
Genesis Elijah’s ‘Private Moments In Public’ is out now and available here.
Words by Aaron Page
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