Gemstones’ new album, Blind Elephant, is here!
And it represents the latest in Stones’ personal and professional growth, signed to Xist Music for the release of the 12 track opus.
From beginning to end, it’s a gem (pun intended.)
The Chicago rapper/singer begins the CD with a lot of the former — rhymes upon rhymes with his signature intense delivery to make the listener drop what they’re doing and proceed to the main course. In fact, the intro is an appetizer in the truest sense for music.
Track 02, “Believe”, begins Gemstones’ journey into some of the peaks and valleys of life, with his faith in God stepping to the forefront throughout. As a result, I find myself resonating with some of the chilling, goosebump-inducing messages. Gem has always come across with an extra dose of energy and that only adds to the authenticity, and therefore power of the message. By now, this is the type of album you have to listen to with no distractions and really listen to.
Previous previews that I’ve lauded like “Lyrical Miracle”, “New World”, and “Temple” land in the middle of the album, with the latter standing out even more now as perhaps my favorite track on the album. After “Temple” comes “Selfish”, the video of which Gemstones also released today.
If you press play on this first, you’ll immediately be transformed into what’s probably the darkest track on Blind Elephant. The visual depicts Gemstones with suicidal tendencies as well as a little brother figure of sorts who is sexually abused. So yeah, it gets heavy. Shoutout to female singer Precious who also absolutely rocks the hook on this.
For the latter quartet of the album, we hear Gemstones experiment with a few more sounds. The first 75% of the album is laced with a lot of piano and some guitar. The use of these instruments is instantly and universally appealing and I loved hearing Gem over some of the simple, traditional keys and chords. I also love where the album went sonically for these last four tracks as “Almost Home” has a soulful Chicago feel on the record, the one track that really has that feel.
On “Don’t Let Me Fall”, Gemstones actually tabs his wife Annie Castle to sing a smooth chorus as the song is a sweet one about finding themselves in marriage, over an uptempo, pop production. This one was one of my favorites too. Lastly, “Rapture” is the fitting conclusion for Blind Elephant and one of those tracks with lyrics that you have to rewind given some of the thought-provoking questions. Stones may have even saved his best vocal performance on the album for last too.
And that does it. It seems like an annual tradition now where I marvel at a new Gemstones project from beginning to end. He’s flat out one of my favorite, most thoughtful lyricists and in my top tier of the most talented artists, rappers, singers to not only come from Chicago, but really the entire game. You don’t need a super high profile following to be considered for my top tier but with Blind Elephant, Gemstones’ profile is definitely going to take a leap forward. He’s already going to be touring in the West Coast so keep it locked to his Twitter @1Gemstones and listen/support the album below!