By: Fridae Mattas
After listening to this record on and off for the past few months I finally have the chance and patience to sit down and write about it. Nine Lives was released April 24th 2012, this is Aron “Deuce” Erlichman’s first record with new label Five Seven Music. You may recognize Deuce as “The Producer” and co-founder of his former Rap Rock band “Hollywood Undead”, in 2009 Deuce was fired and phased out of the band. Sad what happened, they were once upon a time friends but the end result is just another typical Hollywood story of how a little success can create monster egos and tarnish friendships. Curiosity drove me to actually hear this record out but at first when my ears listened to “Crackin” I skipped the song after the first verse. Instead of listening to the rest of the album I played a tune by another artist and moved along to a new project. Why? Because, I was immediately turned off from the song’s lyrics which are extremely juvenile coming from a guy in his thirties and it’s not even a good club banger. After hearing new Hollywood Undead sans Deuce, it sounds like his ex bandmates have somewhat moved on with their lives but Deuce still seems to be trapped in the past.
That was my initial first impression, the one song ruined it for the rest of the record and I forgot about it. Fast forward a month and a half when I had time to listen to some new music, as I was going through material I was sent already in my iTunes there it was, Deuce’s “Nine Lives”. I thought okay, maybe I wasn’t being fair but do I really want to torture my ears with immature lyrical Eminem-abee nasal congestions again? Then I remembered the benefit of the doubt, I decided to skip “Crackin” and start listening to the album from “Help Me” a semi-clever track with a catchy hook. Starts in with a phone call skit taking aim at his previous label and the people he’s beefing with. A few of the rhymes in the verses are kind of slick but anyone can rhyme pain and rain, many have.
The single “America” one of the stronger tracks on the album has this get out off my face anthemic attitude. A lot more depth, less nasal and more creativity than “Crackin” not to mention a whole different musical feel. The music, specifically the beat which is a blend of guitar and percussion, is what drives the song. The screaming was a nice touch but I noticed that this could be his song formula because a few more tunes on this record are set up the same way. One track “I Came To Party” I loved musically because the beat is filthy but I really was not feeling the lyrical content. Another song I need to mention is “Freaky Now”, I don’t understand the big deal about Jeffree Star other than she’s a pretty hot drag Queen, her music is so bad! Jeffree Star is the Paris Hilton of Trannies but hotter and I must admit, her verse on this track was amusing. Overall the song itself is whack, can’t believe I made it to 3:31 before skipping, you are not in high school anymore. The next track “Nobody Likes Me” is one of my favorites on this record, it has a trance like sound that draws you in and keeps you captivated throughout the whole track. The lyrics are much better, still a little childish but this one actually has a few added layers that the candy party tunes lack.
A few of the songs are fairly similar to the Hollywood Undead Eminem wannabe rap styles of past albums, I wanted to let it slide but the songs just kept getting more and more Matheresque! I could hear every Eminem single in eighty five percent of this record, it was almost like he used Eminem’s music as a blueprint. The final straw was the rapper who started “Till I Drop” sounding like Tupac and then on the first verse after the chorus another rapper is spitting Lil Wayne imitation to the T. Maybe I’m being too hard on the guy and his friends, Eminem is obviously his hero but it was a laces out style warning when “Now You See My Life” played. The beat was a doppelganger of “The Way I Am” I couldn’t concentrate on Deuce’s track because Eminem’s lyrics kept coming into my head. It doesn’t end there, the trend continues with the joint “Gravestone” which had a “Cleaning Out my Closet/Stan” vibe. You can take a listen to this album for yourselves and come to your own conclusions. His flow and rhymes need work, slurring words doesn’t equal rapping, work on the diction and delivery instead of over hyping yourself to be a “genius”. The record plays on and I am still waiting for Deuce to legitify his highly advanced claims, I have yet to hear anything that would be classified as genial on this LP. Regardless of his obvious idolization’s, Deuce does have an extreme passion for his craft, if only his lyrics were half as witty and original as Slim Shady’s maybe this record would have turned out better.
Officially on the fence! The last time I said that about a record it was in regards to Eminem’s “Relapse” Album which was golden compared to this one. Some will like it, others won’t. Personally, this journey felt like I was listening to a broken rap tribute mixtape instead of an original, quality, piece of art. From the ten tunes on this album I would only listen to three or four regularly, the rest is recycled redundancy to my ears. Deuce is not as amazing as he thinks, he is a talented artist who has come a long way. In order for him to continually progress, he needs to find himself his true self. I look forward to hearing new material from Deuce as well as catching a live show. Hopefully, on the next album the content matures a bit with less jibber about his dick.