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The best kept secret in music


"The Call review by HipHopLinguistics.com"

Ironically, the one album sent to me for free in the mail was worth more than all the others combined. Man, the underground never ceases to amaze me. Random’s “The Call” did contain many characteristics of albums I’ve reviewed over the past couple months. It was a feel good album, the importance of which I contemplated in the Aceyalone review. It was also a positive and motivational album, similar to what I felt about the Visual review. But “The Call” offered much more, at least for me ...

Hip-Hop and the History of Art
Last week, I was skimming through an old college textbook on the history of art. I came across a section that discussed the evolution of the painter’s canvas, which is actually some pretty interesting stuff. Do you know that, along with obvious innovations in style, theme and manner of painting, one of the biggest factors that have changed the landscape of the art of paint over the centuries has been the evolution of the canvas?

Early canvases were made of linen, chosen primarily for its strength. In the early 20th century, however, the cotton canvas came into use. Although less favored than the traditional linen by upscale and professional artists, cotton made an indelible impression upon the art of painting because it was much less expensive. This price difference allowed many beginners, especially those of more modest backgrounds, to experiment with painting, which helped to contribute to some of the most important and influential art of human existence.

From there, modernist painters created other significant evolutions. One of the greatest differences between new and old-school painting techniques is the preparation of the canvas texture itself. Modern artists often spend months layering raw canvas, polishing and repeating until they create a textured canvas suitable for their intended paintings. These changes again added to the evolution of painting, and have helped to create outstanding advancements in the quality of the art form.

Artistic Innovation in Hip-Hop
Now the reason I speak of the history of the canvas is because it is a perfect example of how an art form can continue to improve and prosper through innovation. When you look at it, the history of art is actually quite similar to the history of hip-hop. As with the creation of the cotton canvas, the creation of turntablism and hip-hop production allowed kids who couldn’t afford guitars, pianos or drums to create music. As with the changes in textured canvases, advancements in common recording techniques have allowed artists to experiment with different sounds, feelings and flavors to create their music. This has all allowed hip-hop to continue to advance to worldwide significance in just the thirty-plus years of its existence.

I honestly believe that Random’s “The Call” represents another brilliant innovation in the world of hip-hop. The production on this album is unlike anything I’ve ever heard. It is a unique and a refreshing change from popular hip-hop's current direction, and it is one of very few albums that has successfully put together such a wide range of producers while still maintaining continuity. The album uses a combination of seemingly hundreds of acoustic instruments and jazzy melodic sounds to make its beats. The lyrical content is, for lack of better terminology, super dope, and sticks with the current trend of underground artists talking about real life and heartfelt subjects that matter to the common man. And Random’s flow is experimental, ranging from slow and contemplative to quick and fun, showing off a broad verbal skill almost never seem in popular or mainstream hip-hop.

Random’s “The Call” is, without a doubt, crazy spectacular. Arguably among the best independent releases I have ever heard. The album moves in book-like unison, as if each track was placed purposely to tell a story or create a changing set of emotions and feelings. It hasn’t left my CD player for two weeks now, and I don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon. If this album is representative of the quality of the up and coming RAHM Nation Recordings, the underground just might have a new set of representatives. Although pretty much every verse in this album is quotable, I ain’t got that kind of time, so I listed a few of my favorite lyrics below. Check ‘em. PEACE.

Please support innovation in hip-hop by picking up “The Call” by Random. You can learn more about this amazing lyricist and producer at the Random website, or visit RAHM Nation Recordings online - Nat

"Fundamentals Review"

Fundamentals review by Urban-Reviews.com (4/5 discs)


He's known as Big Ran to some and Random Beats to others, but Random is unmistakably a breath of fresh air to a Hip-Hop market that is in desperate need of a re-up. After joining the RAHM Nation (www.rahmnation.org) roster, Random is out to prove to the world that he has what it takes to be a top notch producer and lyricist. And like many others have learned in the past, success doesn't come overnight. So Random has put together Fundamentals: The EP to wet all the appetites of those looking for something exciting and new (yeah, just like the Love Boat).

Even though Fundamentals: The EP is independently released, Random's production is on par with a lot of producers like 9th Wonder of Little Brother, Chops of Mountain Brothers, and others. "City Boy" is my personal favorite, even though it is a bonus track towards the end of the album. Other knockout favorites include "Never Be The Same" and "If Ya Don't Know." The fun thing about Fundamentals: The EP is the intermingling of humorous skits where he basically has beefs with his alter-egos to create a buzz, something a lot rappers find themselves in the middle of when they gain a little fame.

Rapping for 12 years on the underground, Random has put in work to get where he is now. If he focuses on making his sound more refined, he will truly be a force to be reckoned with. Don't be surprised if you hear his name pop up on the internet in the future as the hottest thing coming out of Philly. And unlike a lot of others with dreams of being a rising star, Random delivers when it comes to spitting bars and assembling beats. Look out for Random's full-length album The Call early 2006 featuring 9th Wonder, Wordsworth, and more.

Check out his website (www.myspace.com/random215) for more info.

Score: 4 out of 5 discs - urban-reviews.com

"Review of The call by musicforamerica.org"

is anything but. He is an MC who wants to change the world with his music, and I'm not saying that just to boost anyone's ego. This is a guy who has a mission to **** **** up in a good way, and The Call (RAHM Nation is the sound of a thousand MC's running away with fear.

If you love bull**** lyrics with bull**** beats, go download something off of Soulseek. As he states in the intro, his goal is to preserve "the artform's integrity". While he may know he can't do it alone, he knows that it will take his determination in order to make it from start to finish, something he has no problem in doing. Let's be direct and to the point, there is absolutely no filler on this album. Every song is spoken on the level of someone well beyond his age, mature beyond his years and yet carries himself with the kind of energy deserving of anyone who wants to be heard. I love the instrumentals I hear on everything, I'm a producer and I want to hear what my contemporaries are doing. But this is for those who wish to be inspired by the spoken word, Random is an MC's MC, something that should not be taken lightly in this era of "hype men in the front".

The songs aren't just a bunch of clever verses and sentences, but he offers that. Random can rock the party if he wants, and rips the reputation of anyone whom he deems unworthy. When it comes to battle rap though, he is battling against the powers that be, as he does in "Still Ain't Good", where he talks about the world post-Hurricane Katrina and wonders why there is a lack of effort in trying to save a city and people. On the other end he's talking directly with the ladies, done in a respectful manner which should turn a few heads.

Random speaks with community in mind, be it his immediate family, a need for strong friendships, or among his people. It's not exclusive, for he speaks on a need for everyone to fight an uphill battle, done in a manner which shouldn't go over people's heads. The Call is just that, a call for everyone to stand up and take notice of the shame that has plagued a nation. This will definitely be on my best of list at the end of 2006.

(The Call is available now through CD Baby.)

- John Book

"The Call Review by musesmuse.com"

Genre: Rap
Sounds Like: ?
Technical Grade: 9
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9
Commercial Value: 10
Overall Talent Level: 10
Songwriting Skills: 10
Performance Skill: 10
Best Songs: Still Aint Good Enough, Push, Raze The Bar, Black Out, The Opening Movement, Motivate
Weakness: None
CD Review: Random, who fittingly resides in the city of brotherly love (Philadelphia, PA) sent me an inspirational project that's camouflaged as a Rap CD. He almost had me fooled until I listened closely and discovered that he's a man with a mission and a message. In fact, he has many messages, but before he delves into any of them he want's you to know his motivation: He's sick and tired of many things including everybody talkin' bout they pack heat...tired of kids that can't comprehend, but know 50 Cent (songs) from beginning to end...sick of black women getting disrespected...and tired of going to more funerals than graduations. Those frustrations are voiced on the third track, "Raze The Bar," which is also Random's mission statement. Does he Raze The Bar? Absolutely.

If the early track, "Raze The Bar" is a jab, then "Still Aint Good Enough" is a sharp right hook. It combines lyrical content, forceful music production and prime performance skill with a thought-provoking chorus. Not only is this track radio ready and commercially viable, it's a conversation piece that centers around a myriad of social issues such as war, politics, education, career choices, and money. It's powerful!

As you sift through this project, you walk right into the knock out punch that will turn you into a Random fan. It's the track entitled "Push," which is an excellent complement to "Still Aint Good Enough." Peep the following lyrics:

Call me conscious cause I don't spit nonsense
I just give em' options, diversify the topics...
knock it if you must you wouldn't be the first one
I'm certain, got thick skin so it don't hurt none...
If I was cursin and blurtin stupidity it'd only make the situation worse and my people's is thirstin,
while demons is lurkin, it's about time somebody pull back the curtain...So I got to


Like a mother giving birth when it hurt
When the scene look the worst I'm the first one to
For Dr. King and push for Malcolm
The powers that be to change the outcome

Other standout tracks on this project include the funky, greasy beats of "The Opening Movement" and the jumping club track, "Black Out." Random even offers potential remedies to the problem of how black women are treated and showcases his versatility in the process on " Motivate."

Over the years I've reviewed some good and some great Rap projects, but none have been as significant as this one. He's a man who has received a calling and dares and cares enough to issue a calling to those who are receptive to it - without being preachy. Kudos to Random for having the courage to be different and having the ingenuity to present your message in a format that will connect with the very people for which it was intended. As he states, "Many are called, few a chosen." I'm glad he received The Call because he's a great messenger.

Advice: You need none. You have all the guidance you need. Keep spreading the word.

- Gian Fiero

"review of THE CALL by heavycontact.com"

Random, a.k.a. Random Beats, a.k.a. Big Ran is a 28 year old student of the culture. Ran has been killin' mic’s since 93', producing since 2000, and has been a studio engineer since 2003. He spends his days teaching special education classes, and his nights writing rhymes and supporting his 10 independently distributed albums he's put out over the last 12 years. Before performing on stages from New York to the Bahamas, Random earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Penn State University. It has been said that Random's style is a strange hybrid of "KRS One's thought process, Nas' vivid imagery, Redman's since of humor, and Big Daddy Kane's ridiculous flow". Big Ran has performed with artists such as Immortal Technique, The Roots, Little Brother, J-Live, and more over the years. His latest album "The Call" is just what you would expect from an artist named Random. This 19 track album seems to touch every aspect of HipHop. From conscious style tracks to club hits, from political statements to love tracks. I absolutely think this is the best album I've reviewed in O6' so far. As far as stand out’s on the album, "Luminescence" featuring Reef the Lost Cauze and Neo P was one of my favorites. "Luminescence" is a scorching hot "ego" track with some very tight turntable work. I felt some of the same excitement I felt when I first heard The Chronic. Out of the 3 part track called "Tainted Love", the illest was part 3 because it has the sped up vocals samples you hear a lot nowadays with the exception that Random makes this style of production his own by actually using this effect as the beat. You just gotta hear it to understand fully. Overall, "The Call" is a tremendous effort, packed with good-times, bad-times, humor, and most of all positivity. Go get "The Call" on Feb 21st. --Butcher
- Butcher

"Review of The Call by Rapreviews.com"

The Philly rap scene has been popping off ever since Beanie Siegel first hit it big with the Roc. After introducing Freeway and State Property, it seemed anybody who was worth hearing out of Philly had at least one mixtape out. But with the sudden onslaught of street cats and punch-line rappers like Cassidy, everyone seemed to forget that Philly had also produced The Roots and had a thriving rap culture before Beanie Siegel. Granted, even with their signing to Def Jam, The Roots aren't considered popular by any means. Maybe this lack of radio viability explains why the focus on Philly doesn't get past a certain realm of rappers, but regardless of the reason for overlooking anyone who's not packing a gun and a punch-line, it's a shame Philly's hip-hop scene doesn't get fully represented. Ironically, even though I consider myself well versed in quality rap from all regions, Random is cat who had failed to make a dent on my radar before receiving "The Call." My lack of awareness stems not from the quality of Random's work, but from the fact that even in Philly's underworld Random still isn't as well known as he should be.

Random's style isn't easy to pinpoint. He speaks about life in general, which is to say he doesn't spend all his time focused on one thing. You'll get a little of everything, ranging from songs about the state of hip-hop, love, battle raps, the state of urban America, and any other topic that is relevant to someone in Random's shoes. His voice is clear and distinct and his flow is on point. The album's opening verse is great example of what Random's all about as he hits on all topics while keeping his verse relevant:

"Physically, Spiritually, Mentally, Emotionally
Free is what I hope to be, one day
Free from the mediocrity and the gun play
Free from the ignorance, seeking deliverance
Free from afflictions that got my people sickened
Free from the fiction that everybody kicking
Cause I was called to the forefront
By my forefathers who forfeited they rights to the crown for me
But they'd be proud to see
I never fabricated or exaggerated, only facts have been found with me
My goal is preserving the art form's integrity
Never let any fallacies and lies get to me"

He first hits us on the hip-hop side of things with clever word play in the title of "Raze the Bar," where he crafts an anthem for a new school both socially and musically. "Tainted Love" addresses different kinds of love and is broken up into three different parts spread throughout the album. Random even manages to get extra serious by making a heartfelt song addressing hurricane Katrina, among other things, on "I Still Care."

The production on the album is handled by a mixed group of producers, including Random himself, and though they are not household names they hold the boards down. The only big name that shows up on the production credits is 9th Wonder, who produced the first installment of the aforementioned "Tainted Love" and he sticks to his signature style with a smooth guitar sample over a subdued beat. The second installment is equally dope as 2FacedBeats drops a soulful voice sample over a laid back beat. Random handles the board for the third installment of the song and injects more energy into it with a chopped up sample. DN3 also represents well, handling a few tracks, including the dope piano arrangement on the Reef The Lost Cauze assisted "Luminesence."

Overall, Random is a dope emcee who's worthy of getting noticed in Philly and beyond. "The Call" isn't a perfect album, as some tracks aren't as effective as others, but it's a solid album and shows vast potential. Heartfelt tracks like "Salvation," "Don't Let Me Die," and "On My Grind" showcase Random at his best, with honest and raw lyrics addressing serious topics. But even when Random goes for a more accessible sound on tracks like "Blackout" he still manages to drop decent lyrics, though the hook and beat are lacking. Though I was first skeptical when Random declared he got "the call" to rap, at the end of the day it's not hard to believe that this is the truth. He's a natural on the mic and is not afraid to address whatever's on his mind. With a little more polish Random could be the next big thing out of Philly, but even as it stands he's still better than most of the material that's come out of Philly lately.

Music Vibes: 7 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7 of 10

Originally posted: April 11, 2006
source: www.RapReviews.com

- Rapreviews.com (DJ Complejo)

"The Call review by okayplayer.com"

Representing hard for the Philly region, Random is a nice new name in my ears after listening to The Call. This is an emcee who immediately proves his credibility with a nice voice and nicer flow. He is also a wise musician—picking up a nationwide range of producers to color his words with their own unique feel. The result is a very solid outing which would do any Illadelph native proud.

The first track that really jumps out is “Raze the Bar”, produced by Samik (known for his work with Ruff Ryders/G-Unit), which gives an uplifting, beautiful feel complimented by an excellent lyrical message. The rest of the album follows solid suit, with no weak points, but no mind-blowing bangers either. The Call is just a nice, listenable variety of diverse hip-hop (19 tracks of variety, to be exact).

Most importantly, The Call gives insight to the 28-year-old man that is Raheem Jarbo (Random). His last effort, Fundamentals, was light-hearted and fun, but I think it is safe to say that The Call is a call for honesty, positivism, and musicality. Dark as it may be, it isn’t an existential oblivion that so many emcees get caught up in. This album has real purpose and might be the last stepping stone before a truly groundbreaking Random record drops.

– LK1

- LK1


2003- The Random Demo Project
2004- Archetype
2005- Fundamentals: The EP
2006- The Call
2006- The Call: The RemixTape


Feeling a bit camera shy


Call him Random, Big Ran or Random Beats, or call him the collective conscience of Hip-Hop. Upon hearing his Archetype LP, RAHM Nation founder Ohene called Random the newest member, extending an invitation to join which Ran wholeheartedly accepted. You can hear his distinct delivery or unorthodox production on several of this year's biggest underground releases. "I never want anyone to predict my next move," he says. You can, however, expect the unexpected from Random, hence the name.

a 12-year rhyme veteran, Random's bars are filled with all of the heartache, pain, triumph, tragedy and fun that come with everyday living. as a special education teacher, Random's plight is one that can be related to by anyone, transcending race or class barriers.
His current project, "Fundamentals" is recieving rave reviews from Hip-Hop critics and purists alike. Ran's full length LP, The Call , hit stores February 21, 2006 and boasts the critically acclaimed singles "Raze The Bar" and "Salvation" featuring Wordsworth, which are playing on college and independent radio from Philadelphia to Seattle.

"The Call" also contains tracks with/from Hezekiah, Reef the Lost Cauze, Ohene, Hasan Salaam and several talented musicians and artists, who collaborate to create a musical and soulful journey.

Heed The Call.

hear more at Random's myspace page