It was during the summer of 2004 when I received a compilation sampler of mostly forgettable tracks. All except for 2 songs that grabbed my attention. One of the two songs was "Mediocre" by New Orleans native and now LA resident Voice. When you find a rapper spitting intelligent rhymes effortlessly about a variety of topics, you tend to take notice.
Fast forward to the present and we finally have "Gumbo", a fifteen track offering that showcases Voice's undeniable rhyming skills. On the opening track "Fantasy Pt.1", Voice rhymes about the lack of creativity from today's hip-hop as well as the negative images in the videos. On "Neck snap", Voice laments on how she wished her rap career started earlier but her dad wanted her to pursue acting instead. The bulk of the tracks here are produced by Toronto based producer Moonstar. It was through Moonstar's 2002 EP that put Voice on the scene and they have been partners ever since. The other producers have dropped some gems as well. The track "Total Eclipse", produced by Marc Mac (4 Hero) finds Voice rapping about how most men talk about wanting a strong women, only to push her into the background ("He wants you in his shadow, masking all your brilliance"). The sound of this cd has a laidback jazzy type of vibe with only a few high energy tunes. Therefore, it probably wouldn't hold the interest of the mainstream hip-hop fan. Despite that, this disc is a welcome break from the tired, repetitive nonsense that we're usually subjected to. All in all, "Gumbo" is a very nice debut and the future looks very bright for Voice.