Bliss n Eso Are Spot On with Off the Grid
After the success of their fifth studio album Circus in the Sky, Australian hip-hop trio Bliss n Eso return four years later with their sixth studio album, Off the Grid. Released late April 2017, the two-rappers-and-DJ group look to carry the momentum after topping the Australian albums chart with their last two albums as well as earning platinum certification with their last three.
The first thing that impressed me about this album is the variety. Given that the album is fifteen tracks long, it’s essential that there’s enough variety between the tracks to balance out the sound and deliver something different each time. That’s what the trio accomplishes with Off the Grid. For instance, the album’s first track, “Off the Grid,” goes all out with aggressive lyrics and a bass-heavy trap beat to introduce themselves to new listeners as well as letting their old fans know they’re back. Then the album immediately shifts to “Believe,” which features a much more heartfelt and uplifting song. Featuring Mario, Bliss n Eso shows a softer side to their sound while continuing to drive hard with the rap vocals. Mario in particular—the one who sang his 2004 pop hit “Let Me Love You”—does a fantastic job bringing out all the emotions in the chorus with his vocal performance.
Additionally, Off the Grid shows it can switch gears from a laid-back and feel-good track like “Coolin” which features Dizzy Wright & Rob Curly, to a smooth, tropical-esque hip-hop track in “Great Escape,” to a track like “Whatever Happened to the DJ” that bears more of the 90’s hip-hop vibe.
Another thing that I like about Off the Grid is the rap and vocal delivery by the rapping duo. Given the varying sound throughout the album, MCs Bliss and Eso aren’t shy to hold back on expressing their thoughts and emotions without going too overboard on the lyrics. Their flow and delivery are on point too, and DJ Izm, the third member of Bliss n’ Eso, does a great job complementing the rap verses with the instrumental. The featured artists also do a good job adding extra needed style with the album. As I’ve noted, the featured artists do a lot to add many different dimensions to the album. Their inclusion and performances allows the album to appeal to a wider audience range.
One last thing I like about Off the Grid is the many different shoutouts and references they make in their lyrics. It’s a common thing to do in rap music, and no only does Bliss n’ Eso do it as well, they didn’t miss a beat either. We hear it right in the first track, with “Off the Grid.” In one of the verses, they make a reference to the movie Hunt for the Wilderpeople, naming the characters Ricky Baker and the dog 2Pac.
Another example would be in the third track, “Tear the Roof Off” featuring Watsky, where they make a reference to En Vogue and their song “Free My Mind.” The most significant song that stood out for me was the last track, “Travelling Band,” where Bliss n Eso raps about their success and touring. Here they name drop many different places, including Paris, Africa, Japan, the snowy mountains in Canada, Miami, and Afghanistan, as well as their hometown Sydney. “Travellin Band” has a crowd-pleasing sound that will make a lot of listeners feel like at home. It’s a perfect way to end the album.
Overall, Bliss n Eso come up big with Off the Grid. The hip-hop trio show their versatile sound that should appeal to a wide range of listeners coming from many different genres.
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