On constant repeat for me lately has been Sunrain, the latest album from producer Elements of Music, or EOM for short. Now the Virginia producer has been here on The Beest before, as I really dug his 2011 effort, Further, and Sunrain is no different, with EOM stepping up his music-making considerably. Here his sounds are smoother, tighter, more inviting, and matured…he’s improved his craft considerably since I’ve last heard him, and on this record he’s shines. EOM also has a few guests here contributing to his sounds, including some pretty notable emcees like Wax, Blu, slik d, Anderson .Paak, and…even Asher Roth (remember that dude?). All told, it’s a solid summertime burn.
But there’s one track here which has really stuck with me for the last little while. “Sunny Days” features emcees Karenga Bailey and Chaycin Change, and is a poignant, yet understated look at police brutality in black communities, with the duo touching on some of the feelings encountered on being black in America and still being a large target for violence and racism. Both emcees are incisive with their thoughts, with Bailey speaking on victims such as Trayvon Martin and Sean Bell and urging a cure for crooked cops like needing a cure for cancer, while Change speaks from the vantage point of an officer’s son, who has intimate knowledge of how cops operate but still can’t shake the feelings of hostility, paranoia, and fear when they pull up next to him at a light.
The tune itself sounds deceptively smooth, coming off like a good kid, m.A.A.d. city outtake (and I mean that in the best way possible). The juxtaposition of the warm, summery, and inviting beat over such sobering subject matter? The sung hook? That last minute of the song, where the horn, claps, and chorus of voices take over and the vibe is pensive as Bailey delivers his last thoughts…with that line about freedom at the end? Damn. This one is a stunner, beautiful and devastating at the same time, and a reminder that it’s another summer and stakes are still high.