Just when I thought I’ve seen it all and heard it all, along comes Emanuel Doematic and blows my mind TF away. And that is no exaggeration either. With a message most impassable, an honesty bordering madness, and a production enough to remind you this is a song but always ceding the spotlight to the artist’s vocals, Hustle Harder is a bonafide lyrical masterpiece. “A few years back I read The Divine Comedy written by Dante Alighieri and saw a correlation to my life so I decided to do a 3-album project based off the text and my own experiences” – shares Emanuel Doematic as Hustle Harder is the 10th song off Purgatory (the second album of the 3) carrying the title of its equivalent of Dante’s Divine Comedy, Purgatorio.
I’d like to start off by giving props to Emanuel Doematic for the cover artwork. The symbolism, colors, collage, composition, texture, all indicate heavy intent and purposeful direction on the artist’s side. If we consider the image to be an indication of what we’re about to hear, then we’re in for a treat.
The grim piano notes are being alternated with lighter ones, mirroring the duality the main character has had to live through: “As much as I give a f*ck/ I can give a f*ck less/ Success is sweeter depending on the process/ Weren’t no easy streets neither/ To progress/ Had to walk a thin line/ Between heaven and hell”. Emanuel Doematic’s voice is faithful to the narrative, being warmly toned with a tinge of unprocessed raspiness. Before we dive further into dissecting the lyrics, pay attention to what the rap artist has shared in detail: “The story behind this record is that of someone who grew up less fortunate, myself included, with a kind heart that learned the hard way that unless you have money, most people don’t care. So now the main character is adjusting to the world as they see fit and remapping their thinking according to the situations and circumstances they are subjected to” Sheesh! Without trying to, Emanuel Doematic comes off as an artist possessed by a moral awareness that would have others running to the church or getting on the hotline with a therapist.
Where Emanuel Doematic starts impressively sounding like a modern version of Dante Alighieri is right around here: “Nothing promised to a sleeper but a dream/ Woke up on the wrong side of the bed/ Thought about putting the 9 to my head/ But that’s a cop-out” The last two lines give away the fact that the artist might have struggled with the darkest and most sinister of thoughts but prevailed in keeping his dignity and self-respect intact. The lo-fi production style helps emphasize the mood of unaltered real-life energy. Goosebumps!
The chorus is simplistic in composition but with the wonderful effect of making itself felt at its command, “What you need to do?/ Hustle harder”, and shortly follows it with the same apocalyptically infused atmosphere, “Young and dumb/ With a gun/ Ain’t no other way to make it out the slums/ Either that or hit the lotto/ Guess we’ll be here till the saints come marching in” With a patterned flow, Emanuel Doematic goes to drop three life lessons in a matter of seconds: “They tried to use a prison sentence as an intervention/ Since then it’s been f*ck friends/ A loosely used term” – lesson number one. “A real n***a run with snakes and cowards is what I
learned” – lesson number two. “Amongst other things/ Haven’t found we while spelling team” – lesson number three. That’s as close as one could get in essence to Purgatorio. Emanuel effortlessly covered 4 of the 7 terraces thus far: pride, envy, wrath, avarice.
With a 3rd verse that sets in stone the aforementioned recurrent themes (emotional numbness – “A killer got no heart/ All he wanted to be/ Was a soldier”, resentment “Time to start packing my 9/ F*ck peace”, hope – “Stay planting seeds of prosperity in my field of dreams”), we reach the end of Hustle Harder. Emanuel Doematic proves to be an artist fascinating to listen to, a voice easily to take a liking to, and a master of himself and his emotions with middle-age poetry roots. For the brilliant, unsatiated minds, this is the record to listen to.
Song Credits: Emanuel Benjamin (Emanuel Doematic) – Writer, Artist; 3 the Hard Way – Producer; Chris Lundquist (Lundquist Audio) – Sound Engineer.
Review by Mariana Berdianu
Blue Rhymez Entertainment ©2020