Marlon D – “Shadows 3” (Album Review)
Marlon D is an underground MC based in Oxnard, California & this is his 9th full-length album titled “Shadows 3”. The album opens up with the intro, where Marlon is talking about speaking to the lost generation & putting you in a hearse by the time the song’s sole verse ends over a hard boom bap beat. The next song “Fine Wine” talks about making his story count & the soul sample on here is beautiful yet very fitting. The track “Crack That Whip” discusses several things such as his past work as well as life being complicated over an expected yet solid sample of the classic Devo song “Whip It”. The song “Wake Up” discusses getting rid of negative energy & still keeping his third eye open over an instrumental that enhances the uplifting vibe perfectly. The track “Raw Shit” talks about thanking God for maintaining his skills & wanting to get busy on the mic over a beautiful soul sample.
The song “Top of the Morning” ambitiously talks about not wanting to dream about getting money & actually getting it over a piano as well as some hard hitting boom bap drums. The track “DUI” may have very vivid storytelling, but I was kinda indifferent towards the beat for it. The song “The Cypher” lives up to it’s title, as Marlon brings Nasty Nelo as well as Rufio Spenz & Crow Flocks on to aggressively go in (in their own rights too) over an abrasive beat. The track “T-Shirts” with Know Big Deal may be the shortest track on the entire album, but both MCs absolutely rip the horns & hard hitting drums to shreds. The song “Wrong or Right” is both reflective & emotional, but it reminds me of the classic JAY-Z track “This Can’t Be Life”. Not just because of the reference to it during the hook, but he even uses the exact same Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes sample that Kanye used on that original song throughout it’s 6 minute runtime. The track “Stand for Something” discusses unity & the soul sample during the hook enhances Marlon’s sincereness very well.
The song “Don’t You Worry” is a message to all the people who’re currently struggling in life & I like how he rides the smooth instrumental on here as well. The track “Cry” vents about a breakup over a perfectly incorporated soul sample along with some hard boom bap drums. The song “Leave Me Alone” basically tells the listener that you can either support him or back off over a somber instrumental & he’s pouring his heart out on here. The track “I Wonder What’s Real” expresses his desire of being a better man as well as reflecting on a shitty boss he had over a somber instrumental that starts off with some great piano keys. The song “Flying Locusts” has a conscious tone to it lyrically & it was really cool for me to hear that they sampled the instrumental break that pops in during the last minute of “Between Friends” by Captain Murphy from beginning to end.
The penultimate track “A Dream Deferred” with News may brag about their rhyming skills & the beat is gritty as well, but the execution of the hook was really awkward to me. The album then closes out with the outro, where Marlon is getting thankful over a beautifully symphonic instrumental. Personally, this final installment of the Shadows trilogy might be Marlon D’s best work yet. Not just because of the beats being a healthy mix of both boom bap & soul, but also because I really think Marlon D himself sounds as focused & ambitious as ever. If any of you are looking for an underground album in 2017 that’s well produced & full of charisma, then I’d personally say this is the album for you