Exile is a robust white man in his 30s from Italian descent, whose grandfather played polka and in Mariachi bands decades ago in Echo Park. This man is also responsible for introducing the hip hop world to classic artists through classic records. From Aloe Blacc to Blu to Fashawn, Exile has helped foster incredible artistry
. He has also done solo work, from producing instrumental projects under his own name to providing production for cats like Snoop Dogg, Big Sean, and Talib Kweli.
4TRK MND is his long-in-the-works solo rap LP, just released this October. Yes, Exile rapping for an entire album. While it's pretty much an open-and-shut case as to whether or not Exile brings the heat with the beats, some of you serious rapper people -- the ones that refuse to smile or do anything other than solemnly nod their head to a song -- probably might not be into this too much.
Exile is a great MC. That said, there are many who have very rigid definitions of greatness on the mic. Ex is far from a Nas or a Blu; he's not going to dizzy you with alliterations and compound rhymes on this album. He's going to make you laugh, sometimes confuse you, with his brazen and bizarre sense of humor. His cadences and patterns are what those who just skim through music might call rudimentary, but the aim of this project is to touch the heart, not so much the mind.
At times, Ex breaks from his goofy persona to bear his soul, most openly on "Mommas' Song" and "Younger Days," where Ex reminisces about both his deceased parents and the tumultous childhood that influenced his approach to music. Sounding like it was recorded when Ex was still underage, 4TRK MND has an instant warmth and intimacy to it that might have you thinking you've heard it before.