Saint Tellah
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Saint Tellah

Band Hip Hop Jazz


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"Review: The Grendel by O.N.E."

DJ Robzilla and Saint Tellah hit the ground running with their first official release, Green Monkey, as the duo O.N.E. Their sophomore album, The Grendel, has them returning with more hits to add to the catalog. The album features guest appearances from other Florida artists including MC, Eye-Q and producer, Albert Love. The maturity between Green Monkey and The Grendel is noticeable. While The Grendel has descended from the hills, it appears that O.N.E. is only heading in one direction, and that's up.

With the opening track, you can tell this is going to be a dope album. “A Better Way Through” opens with a smooth soul sample and smooth rhyming from Saint Tellah and guest, Eye-Q. Oh, but don't think this album is going to be a load of kind words. “A Better Way Through” transitions into “Pikers and Pansies,” St. Tellah's critical look at a lazy society that enjoys placing blame on others and not working to improve things themselves. Hm . . . it seems like that rings a bell. Washington? Naw.

That first transition reminds me of an aspect of this album that I like. As I listen to The Grendel, I can see it being performed live, and I mean as a complete set. One thing I look for in albums is . . . well, an ALBUM. Not a bunch of radio singles thrown together or a mixtape. This is an album. The smooth transitions between some of these tracks give it that live DJ mixing feel. (Very nice Robzilla) Of course, some tracks don't need a transition and not having it may have a better affect. (I think no transition after "Mirror Monster") But, it is a nice touch from the DJ. And, speaking of DJ, Robzilla's scratches are dope as usual.

There are numerous contributors to the production of The Grendel, including Albert Love, Swollen Drumz and, of course, DJ Robzilla. The beats are diverse and superb, from the dark “Mirror Monster” to the more upbeat “Sport Phuckin.” Although they are diverse, they go together very well on this album. They also go very well with the rhymes of St. Tellah.

St. Tellah works well with each of these beats, giving us a mix of his aggressive and laid-back style. There are a couple of tracks I felt weren't as captivating as others, one being “AUP (Another Undeserved Poem).” The beat is really laid back, but the aggression present in St. Tellah's voice clashes. What's funny is that the sound that St. Tellah has is what I like a lot in his tracks. There is a lot of personality to his delivery, which makes his verses enjoyable to listen to. When he becomes one wth the track, you can become lost in his delivery (in a good way), whether because of his pace, like in “Sugar Baby”, or the way he puts his words together, like in the second verse of “The Big Bang.” But once you settle your excitement from the stunning production and amazing rhymes, you'll likely find a lot of depth in his verses. From the government to relationships, Saint gives you a lot to think about.

You can tell a lot of work went into this album; production and distribution. O.N.E. delivers a product on par with many major releases. They've even gone above and beyond to include a lyrics book (with Saint Tellah's personal info on each track) and comic book. Most major label releases don't even provide lyrics anymore, despite all the resources they have. (Sorry, I believe these extras were limited edition.) This is a testament to the Do-It-Yourself attitude of many of Florida's artists, including O.N.E. and Scum of the Earth! My hats off to these artists.

Production is amazing and the rhymes are skillfully delivered, consisting of lyrics we can all relate to. If you haven't picked up your copy of The Grendel, I say do it now! You don't know what you're missing out on. But, I can give you a little taste below. - Gainesville Lyricist Lounge


Still working on that hot first release.



Currently at a loss for words...