Rashad and Confidence Element of Surprise Album Review

Posted: January 19, 2012 in Album Reviews

A criminally unknown album, released Nov. 29th 2011.

Rashad & Confidence

Element of Surprise


1. Introduction

2. Brand New—5/5

3. The City—5/5

4. Understand—5/5

5. Rumors of War—5/5

6. Days of My Youth—5/5

7. Interlude

8. Pen On Display—4.5/5

9. Shining—4.5/5

10. Pass Me By—5/5

11. Interlude

12. They Keep Asking Me—5/5

13. Let Me Explain—5/5

14. All Year Round—5/5

15. The Break-Up Song—4.5/5


Track Rating: 4.88/5

Intangibles: 5/5

OVERALL RATING: 4.94/5= 98%


Track Overview


Brand New- Wow. This is literally a breath fresh air for hip-hop. This track is like opening up the blinds on a new day. The saxophone, the flute, the guitar it’s all perfectly blended to make a euphoric beat. This track was literally the FIRST time I ever heard Rashad drop bars. His flow is flawless, and the lyrics are completely on-point, “This is the path I chose and Imma walk it while I’m shakin hands with fans and foes, I got what this industry lack well… crafted flows.” As this track closed I had to press pause before moving on to the next song, I was just so blown away. How had I not heard of Rashad or Confidence? 5/5


The City- I did however move to the next track eventually and it did not disappoint. “The City” is not only an ode to Rashad’s New York or Confidence’s hometown Philly, it is an anthem for anyone being oppressed by the venomous “urban life”. The Nas sample, “the city never sleeps…” is just an added bonus. 5/5


Understand- Up next is another gem. Rashad explains how no one understands both his struggles and his triumphs. “If you don’t understand how to make a classic LP, then you don’t really understand what it takes to mc.” 5/5

Rumors of War- Rashad paints a terrific picture of our world’s problems with “Rumors of War”. Confidence comes through with yet another perfect beat. Also, Rashad provides another GREAT hook in this track. 5/5


Days of My Youth- Once I heard the Crooklyn Dodgers sample I knew I was in for a treat. Rashad proves he is also an amazing storyteller as he sheds light on his younger days. 5/5


Pen on Display- Very self-explanatory. Just a lyrical slaughter. Rashad proves to his listeners that no one is touching his pen’s skills. “You heard Rashad is the truth, that’s what the rumors allege, but the proof was seen in the masses moving their heads.” 4.5/5


Shining- Rashad laces “Shining” with introspective lyrics and explains his true dreams of eventually getting his share of the limelight. 4.5/5


Pass Me By- This track gives Rashad the “everyman’s rapper” vibe. He explains how he can be lazy and has had his share of missed opportunities, whether it be music or women, but he continues to look forward. 5/5


They Keep Asking Me- I feel like this song was directed at me because Rashad definitely has me asking, “Who is this guy?!” The rapper basically states how he is the best-kept secret in the industry. 5/5


Let Me Explain- A beautifully crafted story of the evils of hip-hop. This is one of my favorite songs of the year. “You got the glamour, the glitz, the fortune and fame, but was it worth the sacrifice for the portion you gained?” 5/5


All Year Round- The highlight of the next track is the undeniable smoothness of Confidence’s beat. Rashad speaks on his daily grind and once again provides a flawless hook. 5/5


The Break-Up Song- The album closes with Rashad’s take on his own tumultuous relationship. With a deeper analysis however, it seems evident that Rashad’s woman may very well be hip-hop. 4.5/5



As I finished listening to this album I was completely awe-struck. How have I not heard of these guys? I almost feel guilty for not copping this album once it dropped in late November. Musically it is hard to critique this album because when it’s all said and done I’m basically trying to find fault in perfection. The real power of this album for me is seen beyond the music. Yes, this is a near perfect album. However, music aside, I feel like it reveals a horrible hypocrisy we hip-hop fans exhibit constantly. We ostracize rappers who supposedly “sellout” and speak on how they should have “stayed true” yet we allow an album like this to slip right under our noses! Along with making beautiful music, rappers need to do one other thing, make a living! This is simply just impossible when your work goes unrecognized, so can we really blame artists who sign to a major to get some cash?  If we’re not going to appreciate an album of this nature than why should artists, like Rashad and Confidence, continue to make music like this? I am sure that artists such as these care more about their creative integrity than their sales, however last time I checked purity and candor DO NOT pay the bills! Ill Adrenaline Records, the label that put this album out has only 75 likes on Facebook!!!!! If we “true” fans continue to allow pieces of art like Element of Surprise to go unnoticed, unrecognized, and overlooked then rarities such as this will soon be extinct. Stop complaining about artists selling out and revel in the perfection that is out there in the hip-hop world. Appreciation of great works such as this will lead to many more artists taking this route and “staying true” to what makes hip-hop beautiful. Until then we can continue to argue about how much “horrible” rap music there is and remain ignorantly blind to true art like this.




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