It’s not often that we revisit a release for review, but in the case of Eric King, it was hard to say no. An up-and-coming artist from Boston, Massachusetts, King originally releases his ‘Fighter’ EP as an eponymous release, offering up rough cuts of his work to signal his arrival. An avant-garde champion of what he calls ‘Renaissance Era Hip Hop’, the ‘Fighter’ EP brings together reworked and remastered versions of the original four tracks, making the release into a whole new kind of beast.
Opening once again with the ambitiously titled track ‘The Greatest’, King unleashes an uneasy mix of vocals and almost-painful tones. The verse are on point, firing on all cylinders with an aggressive showing of rap knowledge and natural talents, but the instrumentals fights the vocals for the spotlight, while the chorus arrives with a noted uncertainty, jarring a track that otherwise flows brilliantly.
‘Boston City Dreams’ remains a dark, synth-powered wonder, and the newly inflamed erratic moments actually work in this case, bringing about a more experimental edge, until about one minute and 20 seconds in, where King breaks into an almost painful false ending. It’s a sad case of a song being reworked into bewildering contrast of the ‘oh so good’ and the ‘dear God no’.
From there, ‘Trillionaire’ erupts as another uneasy mix of rap ability and overbearing instrumentals. Firing off horns that cover the real rhythm of the song and dampen the raw appeal of King’s sound. The six minute anthem of ‘Life Me Out of The Dark and Into The Light’ closes with King’s raw and experimental edge returning, but in a more off-putting way than before. Bringing together nostalgic hardcore verse and distorted, synth wails, the song’s mismatched vocals and polarising nature sway to and fro, and it’s hard to pin down exactly what has happened.
Sadly, the new ‘Fighter EP’ sounds like a step in the wrong direction. By increasing the intensity of the mixing, mastering, and polishing, the EP has lost the raw brilliance that brought it to life and really showcased King’s sound. The original daring of the piece still lurks within, and it rears its head often throughout the piece, it’s just sadly drowned out so quickly. On one hand, the EP does still hold to the original versions mission of tearing down known musical boundaries and building something refreshing in their wake, it’s just moved too far past it’s peak.
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