“Minimal Message,” the new album by Mike Clouds, is 29 minutes of a very mellow blend of beats and tones. Unfortunately, the title speaks more than was anticipated because the majority of the album doesn’t tell much about itself or Mr. Clouds. With the first listen through the two leading songs, “A Day With Rain” and “The Atlantic”, blend into each other too easily and become indistinguishable by the third. Things looked like they were going to pick up in “Just Red” but don’t by much because the tone remains flat. Half of the album sounds as if it was produced on the other side of a large echo chamber.
The second listen through lends more to the nuance that comes with a lyricless hip-hop album like this. Everything pops a little more, but the tone remains uninteresting and dull. The song that pulls out as a clear favorite of the album is “To Unite, To Remain” it decides to blaze its own path and stays soft. It retains its overly moody attitude until the end but doesn’t improve itself by much on any subsequent listenings.
Overall this album shows Mike Clouds to be very talented but very one note. The music is promising but is does not showcase what it is fully capable of. For die-hard fans of the genre it is definitely worth checking out, but everyone else should probably wait for the next album.