“By The Throat” is Eyedea and Abilities’ third studio album, and five years since the release of their sophomore effort “E&A”. The battle rapper slash scratch DJ combination has become widely popular on the underground circuit. Each artist has earned their stripes in their respective fields, Eyedea through his infamous Blaze Battle victory, and DJ Abilities through his three-time DMC triumph. “By The Throat” was promised to be the duo’s best effort to date.
A first listen left me somewhat bemused. I’ve always been a fan of Eyedea and Abilities so I listened to their previous albums E&A, First Born, and The Many Faces of Oliver Hart (Eyedea’s solo album). My first impression was mediocre at best. Sub-par productive work and a choppy flow from Eyedea made an odd listening experience, and something I really didn’t expect. The likes of “Spin Cycle” and “This Story” contained raw talent, and stood out as highlights from the get-go.
I gave the album the deserved time to grow, as many Hip-Hop albums have in the past. Bearing that in mind, “By The Throat” is far from your typical Hip-Hop album. Eyedea does possess the lyrical finesse you’d expect from an “underground artist”, and DJ Abilities has a simply amazing scratching technique. The music is pigeonholed as alternative Hip-Hop and abstract Hip-Hop, which I would agree is a fair comment to make.
After several listens, I re-found my love for the style of Eyedea and Abilities, and began to understand the album for what it is. The title sums up quite well the intent of the duo, and it’s literally an aggressive album that shares a range of emotions from pain, anguish, greed and regret. Eyedea has the skill to portray that through words. Perhaps not as elegantly as his Rhymesayers crew mates Brother Ali and Slug, however in his way, and a way the fans can relate to.
As usual the individual will be the decider. I don’t class “By The Throat” as the best Eyedea and Abilities album, I honestly preferred E&A. I value the difference and the change of musical direction that Abilities took as a producer and the growth musically. Eyedea did disappoint, as the substance he had to offer wasn’t always communicated properly, and forced bars led to an unpleasant listening experience. On the other hand, there was glimpses of brilliance throughout, and Eyedea and Abilities are on the right path to produce a great album.