Swedish rapper’s ‘Garden’ a hip-hop paradise


“The Garden Around the Mansion”
Label: VI Music
U.S. Release: July 18, 2006

Jens Resch appeared from out of nowhere in 2003 and dropped his debut album. Nowhere, in this case, is a little country called Sweden, and Jens Resch is identified on his album as Chords. His debut, “The Garden Around the Mansion,” is a little late coming to America, but no worries. Obscurity via an overseas address has made him unexpected and, therefore, on time.

Chords is an impressive technical MC, and it’s not just because he’s Swedish and all his rhymes are in perfect English. Chords writes well enough to share a track with Masta Ace and Punchline without falling behind, and he spits with a delivery that lets him stand toe-to-toe with technical rapper extraordinaire Tonedeff. Chords never lets his guests overshadow him, never gets lost on a track, and sounds excellent with the production. His hedonistic themes even come off as unashamedly innocent and honest.

“The Garden” is an aptly titled aural vacation spot for hip-hop kids. This sixty-minute paradise balances party tracks and conscious verses, contains a proper amount of samples and laid-back beats, and holds just a touch of battle raps.

For those lazy days, “Chillin’ (Like Matt Dillon)” is an ode to doing absolutely nothing, where Chords declares even eating HAagen-Dazs is a chore. Think of it as a hip-hop “Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything” (word to the Veggie Tales). If the aforementioned low-stress activities have you feeling antsy, Chords _” quite the marijuana advocate _” invites you to stop by and “Wrap Your Chops” around a stick of tea over a relaxed vocal sample complete with stylish twang guitars.

After the spliff session, Chords contemplates the conspiracy of misinformation and conditioning in schools and the media on “Searchin’ for Dreams.” Later, he takes you on a “Supermarket Sweep” with fellow rapper Promoe, where the two get oh-so-serious about shoplifting. They rap about their early shoplifting adventures, in which they stuffed merchandise into their shirts and pants to move it out of stores. Before you realize it, you’re out with two grown men, walking through a store stuffing tinfoil-lined duffel bags full of goods and “moving caseloads out the front with the forklift.”

Another conscious song, before the braggadocio track, “Idiot Savant,” and the bonus remix track, “Get off Mi Couch,” “Knocking on My Door” calls out unjust and power-mad police. The idea may not be original, but it’s interesting to hear it coming from a citizen of Sweden.

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“The Garden Around the Mansion” may not be a very easy album to find, but if you see it in stores, I suggest you buy it. The album was difficult to find for less than $30 plus shipping in the past, but now that it’s been released in America, it is remarkably cheaper. You could spend $17.99 on this album and not miss the money. And even if the music doesn’t suit your style, you can always say you’re cool because you listen to Swedish rap.

congratulations from UPD to UAA graduates