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March 24, 2008 | by  | in Music |
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Album Review – Percieve – Second Chances

Upon first inspection I was slightly confused by the name of this album. It sounds more like the name of a sophomore effort released after a disappointing debut. However, Second Chances is in fact the debut album by Otaki-raised, and now Wellington-based rapper, Perceive, aka Pera Barrett.

On the whole I would say the album is decent, though that requires some qualification.

Consisting of sixteen original tracks, Second Chances features guest production on over half the tracks, with the rest being produced by Barrett himself. It is at this juncture where the mediocrity begins. Although not bad, Barrett’s tracks exude an eighties-esque synth/drum machine combo, that is, for the most part, incongruous with the rest of the beats on the album. Even without looking at the production credits it is pretty easy to discern which tracks are the work of a more experienced producer.

The length of the songs is also problematic. I found most of the tracks – the majority of which are close to five minutes – to be too long to keep me (and most listeners for that matter) entertained for their entire duration. I found this particularly true in songs where Barrett alternates rapping with singing short hooks. On top of this, the singing done by Barrett, as well as other guests, is generally pretty bad and, in my opinion, did the album a disservice. Most of it was just too weak to be acceptable for a studio release.

Barrett’s rapping, however, is pretty good. At 23 he clearly has significant ability and the potential to be, by New Zealand standards, a very good rapper. But I guess that’s the problem. New Zealand standards are, at times, pretty low. That fact, coupled with the absolute enormity of money and talent in rap and hip hop in America (I’m thinking specifically New York and California) makes it difficult to compete on a level that is even remotely comparable. Ironically, it is on this basis that I found redeeming features in Second Chances.

The entire album was, apart from the guest production, recorded, mixed, arranged and produced by Barrett and I think that counts for a lot. So, looking through that particular lens, I can give this album a lot of credit. That aside, if I were going out to buy a hip hop album, I think I’d still have to go for some real, American fare.

Rating: 5/10

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Comments (9)

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  1. Sophie says:

    Wow! So you’re not that into good NZ music huh?!
    Second Chances is one of the more refreshing NZ hip hop offerings of recent times. Unlike other NZ rappers who seek to emulate the American style to the point that they have minimal identity of their own and simply sound like any one of the hundreds of “mixtapes” that aspiring artists hand out on the streets of NYC, Percieve has a distinctive style of his own, thats clearly kiwi and definitely isn’t attempting to compete with the likes of Kanye or Jay Z.
    Love it for exactly what it is, and also for what it clearly isn’t trying to be.

  2. Well – i’d like to quantify this with Pera used to borrow my computer in the hostel to use Fruity Loops on, and I recommended him go to Salient to get his album reviewed, just in case anyone points out that I know Pera as a retort.

    I’m not usually prone to comment, but that seemed like a really unfair review, and a distorted point of comparison to frame the review. And I’m not really a fan of NZ music adulation for the sake of NZ music adulation.

    But firstly, if you’re going to thrown “American hip-hop” as a comparison, you’ve got a long way to go. California? New York? Examples? Because it sounds like you’re trying to say that it aint a 50 Cent record, which is a good thing in my book, because Dei Hamo, that barrel looking dude from the Deceptikonz, all seem to be just basely emulating American hip-hop. But since you put no names in, and just mention two cities with hugely diverse amounts of rappers, it’s meaningless.

    So many questions. Why is American fare real? Why do you insist on complementing the album repeatedly – but still filtering the review through a negative tone?

    See this is a shitty beat up, and all the way through it seems like the reviewer, despite finding things to like, wants to rag on the album.

    Go Pera. I haven’t even heard the album, but things it’s pretty cool that someone got an album out on their own accord, to sit alongside all the “real, American” albums on the shelf.

  3. Percieve says:

    Shot James, I wouldn’t comment either normally but Sean’s last statement sorta jumped out at me and it’s more of a generalisation on NZ hiphop so I don’t feel like I’m trying to defend myself ….”if I were going out to buy a hip hop album, I think I’d still have to go for some real, American fare.”

    You’re implying that hip-hop is only real if it’s american. Is Jazz only real if it’s sung by (I’m hoping there’s none left…) african slaves on plantations? Are Katchafire not real musicians because they’re not all jamcians but still play reggae? Any genre of music played but not originated in New Zealand….do you also lump that into not ‘real american fare’? Or just Hip-hop.
    Your review came across as really narrow minded and it seems like you immedietly assume all NZ rappers are trying to be American, and like James said…it’s a big country, what does that even mean? Bit of a bad stance for a reviewer of NZ music.

  4. Sean says:

    Thanks for actually reading the review as I was slightly concerned that no one would. Anyway, I think all your points are really valid and I’ll definitely take them into account next time I review an album.

    James, I thought of a lot of the qualifications and examples you suggested, but I was constrained by space. Though in retrospect I probably should have just left out the attempted comparison all together. I also think its really cool that someone got an album out on there own accord, and it is obvious that Percieve put a lot of work into it which i totally respect. Unfortunately I just didn’t like the album and I said so. Sorry.

  5. Nick Brown says:

    your opinion is your opinion and this is mine, second chances is a good album, real good. ive been listening to hip hop for about 15 years from all over the world and i have to say percieve has mad skillz, he brings his own ingredients to the recipie and cooks it up to perfection! Shot pera

  6. Jackson Wood says:

    Nick Brown? Browny? Or just another imitation? Come up to the office sometime, if you are the Nick Brown who I hope and dream you are.

  7. richard says:

    i think sean didnt listen to the album enough but thats my opinion and ever 1 got there own opinion much respect pera keep the good work up.

  8. sid says:

    I wish artists and artists’ friends would just keep there fucking opinions to themselves. No one wants to know how loyal you are to your peers music, and doing so proves that you have no understanding that reviews have to be critical. I’m glad Salient has some reviewers who aren’t afraid to be critical of young artists, and instead of defending yourself by exploiting one throwaway comment maybe you should learn something and try and make your music better!!

    If you want a mindless positive review hand your album to fucking Fluro.

  9. Percieve says:

    Haha whoa, calm down sid – no need to talk on the net in a manner that you wouldn’t to my face. I wasn’t trying to defend myself, as reviews are a reviewer’s opinion of an album, my comment was my opionin on a statement Sean made, and nothing more. I take all reviews as what they are, I’m not going to try make my music ‘better’ because of Sean’s perfectly valid opinion.

    If you want a review with no opinions on it hand it to your trashcan.
    Shot for being receptive to other opinions Sean.

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