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Abel Meri’s Latest Album “Truth to Power” Provides Lyrical Wokeness in Spades

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Fusing conscious and politically woke lyrics with soul and boom bap laced tracks, Abel Meri has released “Truth to Power,” a follow-up to his well-received “#BLM” EP. “Truth to Power” showcases Meri’s range and polish as an MC while reinforcing his position as a linchpin within modern, conscious hip hop. And although critical praise is one thing, conscious subject matter has proven increasingly harder to promote and sell within the genre. However, after listening to the project several times, the messaging and artistry of “Truth to Power” is certainly noteworthy in the current times.

“I didn’t set out to create an album, but about 8 songs in, I realized that I needed more real estate to paint the portrait I envisioned” said Meri. The album was recorded in under two weeks and features production from DJ Pain 1, Mike Vince and Progression Music, serving as a soundtrack that documents the events and issues of this year.

The DMV rapper holds no punches as he addresses some of the most prominent social issues of 2020 including racism, police brutality, BLM, COVID-19, the Me Too movement as well as the upcoming US presidential election. A refreshingly original offering, “Truth to Power” does not disappoint, providing thought-provoking lyricism packed with charismatic track presence and delivery. “I just wanted to make people think and look at things from different vantage points” said Meri referring to his inspiration for the LP. What stands out most on the project is Meri’s ability to effectively articulate intellectual ideas without sounding pretentious or contrived. So many times, conscious rap albums miss the mark by conveying an esoteric essence that can be off-putting to many listeners. That is not the case here, and the distinction is quite notable.

The project starts strong out of the gate with the title track “Truth to Power.” A gritty and energy packed song where Meri osculates between a light and punchy flow, intermittently switching to a hype and aggressive tone. The emotion in his voice is clear and unmistakably palpable. Lines like “Breonna Taylor, no-knock, 20 shots, how you cool with that? 20 shots, they ain’t even know what they were shooting at” evoke goosebumps. Meri’s delivery is both impassioned and impressive.

The third track “Glory” is brimming with old school soul as Meri spits a standout third verse that is firmly in the running for verse of the year. “Systemic discrimination to disenfranchise, then we’re stuck cooking fries at the franchise, drive thru the hood, Martin Luther King, or Malcolm X Blvd, the schools are barred, the students starve, no community policing, bring the patty wagons, fill them up, and Trump said it’s ok to rough them up” paints a vivid picture through a skillful demonstration of lyrical acumen.

“Stay Woke” and “Stand Up” (produced by DJ Pain 1) pick up where “Glory” leaves off, utilizing pitch-perfect soul samples and rock themed drums from the multi-platinum producer. Meri and DJ Pain 1 team up to create a Jay-Z and Just Blaze-like synergy reminiscent of “U Don’t Know” off Jay-Z’s 2001 album “Blueprint.”

Staying true to his boom bap roots, “This is Hip Hop” and the anthem-like “Hip Hop Raised Me” ensure a reflexive east coast head nod. Said Meri “paying homage to the pioneers that paved the way for us has always been important to me.”

“Pain” is an honest and heartfelt tribute track to the Me Too movement. Referring to the likes of Jeffrey Epstein, Harvey Weinstein and R. Kelly, Meri laments “nobody saw nothing or said nothing for 20 plus years? I really doubt that, ya’ll were looking out for ya’ll own careers.”

“Beast Mode” rounds out the project as a trap fused banger that will likely find its way onto many workout playlists. Lines like “yeah, I’m in beast mode, look at how the beat go, I put it on the line every time, that’s a free throw, I put it on the line every time, that’s a heat flow, the DJ gotta bring it back every time that’s a repo” exude the wit and confidence of skilled, veteran MC. The catchy beat and hook combine to show Abel’s ability to simplify the flow while still pulling off a lyrically powerful performance.

In addition to providing great musical vibes, “Truth to Power” offers a powerful and timely message for the current social climate. While some artists have steered clear of explicitly addressing some of the polarizing social issues of the day, Meri says “it would be unconscionable for me to be an artist living in this time and not address these issues in detail.” Whether you agree with his views or not, it’s clear that the objective of the album has been achieved.

“Truth to Power” is now available on all major digital platforms.

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