Disclaimer: I am a HUGE Relic fan. I’m trying my best to be objective, but I’m a huge fan of Rel Mccoy for a huge reason. The dude is a franchise. There are a lot of dope emcees and producers but how often is one man both? And how many can also mix and engineer an album? Plus scratch their own hooks?! Who? Hailing from Canada, Relic sounds a bit like a cross between Mos Def and Rakim at times and produces beats as complex as Pete Rock in his prime. Off hand I can’t think of more than 2-3 cats with a comparable resume. I first heard Relic in 2004 when he guest starred on the track “Portable Eclipse” by Stu Dent (aka Sev Statik) . I was instantly captivated by his rhymestyle. I heard him again singing the hook on the track “Everything Changed” by Braille a joint he also produced. Since then I have done my best to buy every album he puts out, and I have never been disappointed. Miles to Go his latest effort is probably my favorite.
It’s obvious from the opening track “Gone Clear”- Rel means business. I applaud his transparency and his openness, discussing his struggles with smoking, being a God-fearing man, husband and father, and much more. On the production tip the best way I can describe his style, is textured layered boom bap grittiness aka music to my ears. Relic’s lyrics are just as intricate as his production, here are some lines from the track Out of the Blue- “You know I’m hoping for sunshine prepared for the rain, eternal summertime? put that on your wish list if mythical impossibilities ﬁt in your mind frame, you’re buried in utopian bliss cause that just don’t exist here, I got faith, but I fought against these costly, lofty ideas reality bites, but won’t swallow all of me, I’ll let the hype disappear, and stomach the melancholy…”.
The written word of his verses doesn’t display the fluidity with which he rides over beats and changes up cadence and rhyme schemes seamlessly. Also, his metaphors throughout the album are often deep and take multiple listens to get fully. I love emcees who take time to write poetry, not just nursery rhyme schemes. Rel features a lot of emcees on this album. Some of the better known collaborators on this one are Die-Rek, Shad, Mr J. Medeiros and RationaL, but there are a host of other emcees included on this project who bring heat as well. The excellence of the collaborators verses are a testament to the quality of work Relic has put into this album. Its definitely a bar raiser.
Stand out tracks are “The Valley”, “Action Figure”, and “Family Man” but honestly each song is well written, beautifully arranged, and worth every dime. The title track “Miles to Go” ends the album in heartfelt fashion, with Rel reflecting on a life altering event that happened to his stepfather in the first verse, and then a father son moment he has with his son in the second verse. Real Grown Man stuff. I really hope Rel has Miles to Go in his musical gas tank. I’ll be running this album til he drops another one most definitely. For a lot of you, you might think this may be an odd pick for an album review, Relic is not explicitly an evangelistic emcee, but the effect the Gospel has had on his life permeates this album and all of his work. Truthfully speaking there may be some braggadocious moments on this album especially by some guest artists, but I still think it is an album worth listening to especially for you hip hop heads out there who are looking for high quality music.
Categorical Ratings Breakdown:
Lyrics/ Delivery: 5/5
Beat Selection/ Production: 5/5