Life Force Radio

Influenced by his mentor Jeru the Damaja, on whose seminal The Sun Rises in The East he appeared, Afu-Ra's subsequent lyrical offerings bore the same philosophical influence on his Body of The Life Force debut. Now on its follow up, Afu- Ra is clearly trying to break down his flow into more digestible chunks; he clearly wants to reach more people with his messages of knowledge and wisdom. While this should raise a red flag, the album's main weakness lies in its production. Although the album is executive produced by DJ Premier, he only contributes two tracks, and many of the tracks are handled by up and coming producers and veterans like Easy Mo Bee. Unfortunately the sounds are a major downgrade from his previous album, and the beat-layers bring lacklustre contributions, for the most part. At times, though, Afu-Ra elevates above the mediocrity, as on "Crossfire," with M.O.P., "Blvd," with Guru (of Gang Starr), and the shifting jazz tempos of "Scatman," helped out by the fact these beats are among the few to cause adrenalin rushes. But the margin for error is so slim that even when Afu is paired with Big Daddy Kane, one of the great MCs, the under-whelming beat makes the track instantly forgettable. Although his heart is in the right place, Afu-Ra's latest efforts casts doubt on if he can get over without a lot of help from his friends. (In The Paint)