What an odd thematic to place upon an album: coffee. That’s not to say that the concept won’t work, but in the mainstream, the drink and hip-hop mixture usually involves something with a more potent, ethanol base (though bearing a similar dark brown hue,) but while the drink has been around for centuries, the artisanal trend around it has expanded — I’m talking about French presses, imported beans harvested from a rare rodent’s poop, espresso art and all this other weird shit that would only happen in the realm of hipsterdom (or Portland.) Given that, the idea of coffee and hip-hop is really no surprise; it’s a little out-of-pocket, but not that much. Hip-hop has been exponentially growing, transcending genres and expectations that once kept hip-hop in a confined space, though within it’s very nature, hip-hop was meant to break barriers and try new things. And coffee and hip-hop is just one of those things. Eric Biddines, presents that very concept in his latest project, “Planet Coffeebean 2,” out this week, and where I went into listening to this with a positive mind, I found more often than not feeling the need for a own cup of Joe to make it from start to finish.
Biddines, a South Florida rapper, dove into the project with the theme of creating an album that represented the world in which he lives in, one centered around coffee. The connections are few and far in between: from the obvious track entitled “Coffee Cup,” to “The Window,” a song where he yearns to escape the monotony of everyday life, which I’m assuming ties in the necessity for a cup of coffee to keep him awake at his day job. As the album went on, the literal theme of coffee became less and less apparent, and more on what is done while you’re drinking coffee: meditate, daydream and converse. The intent to tell stories and be self-expressive is all there, however the delivery and lyrics to entice and enforce held the tendencies to fall short. Songs like “SouF,” “Bad Broads,” and “Stripper Documentary,” had all the right components: adequate production to instill a mood and a vibe — a preface to a story to be told — and Biddines comes in to relay decent verses and rhymes, but taints it with corny hooks.
The shining light within this whole album is the production. All done by Biddines himself, the production is very much an ode to East Coast and Southern hip-hop, exploring production styles hailing from the Dirty South — like “2’s and 4’s,” and “Zero Population,” — to the more laid back styles of a 9th Wonder variety with “Claire Huxtable,” and “I Am.” Biddines is flexible enough as a lyricist to be able to lace the varying styles featured on his album, but does fall risk to sounding too much like Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper or Andre 3000, or when he sings, is akin to a carbon copy of BJ the Chicago Kid.
I can dissect this album to pull apart what was good and what wasn’t as much as I want, but the fact remains that this project very easily faded into the background. And that’s not throwing shade to Eric Biddines, as the intentions he had with this album were very clear throughout the album, yet the delivery of said intentions was what went missing and failed to captivate. Hip-hop will always be pushing boundaries and experimenting, but truthfully, if the rhymes aren’t there, those experimentations will remain as such. Check out the album below and decide for yourself.