Review: Schama Noel – Ear Candy EP

When I think of candy in terms of music, my first thought goes to that awful joint on Joell Ortiz’ House Slippers album, and then onto similar sounding pop records which really aren’t made for me. Something that’s sweet and addictive but ultimately it is unhealthy and has a negative impact on the well being of whoever inhabits it. Iggy Azalea and records like that “Now watch me whip” track are what I’d consider Ear Candy, and that’s why the title of Schama Noel‘s new EP is so interesting to me –  considering the Orlando MC is a polar opposite to all of the things mentioned. 

Schama is known for his intelligent lyricism and prides himself on keeping his music as clean as possible, no mention of the ‘n’ word, no swearing and no degrading of others. He’s got all the morales of what is expected of a Disney backed popstar, but those morales are pitted against messages which shows the rapper’s social, cultural and political awareness. He’s the good guy. A seemingly inherently good person, who’s as likeable as he is talented. 

Yet, this latest EP is something of a contradiction. I’ve hit a writers block as of late. I tried to break into PR work, but journalism is my true passion and yet, there’s something stopping my writing process. I don’t want to miss out on expressing how I feel about the last Loose Logic release, and yet I can’t quite grasp how to piece the words together. Joe Budden is the reason this blog exists, and yet it seems for the first time I’ll miss my chance to have my say on one of his tracks because it’s not evoked the passion I need in order to write.


I was hoping that Ear Candy would break that. Schama is one of the few artists who manages to wake something in me, that inner monster that fueled a talent that I never knew I had, to see something I admire, break it down and express the pros and cons of every syllable a rapper spits, in the hope that I can guide a future star (which Schama Noel obviously is) and let them know what I feel they’re doing right, and what they could maybe work on. I don’t think I’ve ever missed the chance of posting something about Schama, its a 1,000+ view guarantee before we even consider the fact that I’m simply a massive fan – and yet, this review is only coming because I’m forcing myself to do so. 

There are ten tracks on Ear Candy but only one song goes over the 3:33 average, and I think that’s a major flaw here. Schama seems to be testing the waters with half-efforts that could have been so much more. Almost as though, the four tracks on Ear Candy that don’t even hit two minutes are simply the foundations, of which the rapper emulator could build upon in the future into fully formed masterpieces. Yet, I’d rather wait for the whole product than hear bit-parts of possible ideas. 

The EP is eons beyond God’s Playlist and Eternal Feels in terms of the quality of the sound. From Schama’s crystal clear delivery to the atmospheric production, that allows no room for distractions. Yet, the approach Schama takes to each song seems to have taken a turn for the worse. There’s no Suitcase. No Type Of Party. No Shotgun. No Haitian Scum. Instead we’re treat to a selection of consistent but barely above average records. All Rappers Suck Except Me pushes that claim, but having had it in rotation for months prior to the project, it doesn’t quite have the same impact on the tape. 

Maybe it’s that Schama has outgrown me. He has thousands on thousands of fans, who helped raise $5k for a Mick Jenkins feature, and an evolution of an artist in inevitable. I couldn’t be mad at Schama for switching styles, as he grows and experiences different things in life, so will his music. It’s completely natural. This is his version of answering fans who’re asking him to make a certain music, something every musician does – and have every right to do. Yet, my problem with that is, he’s criticising those asking him to make ‘bangers’ and then making an EP full with records that fit a more commercial mould than he has ever done before. 

I can’t be overly critical of Schama, he’s still exhibiting talent in abundance but what I can be mad at is that Buried Alive Pt. 2, a skit dissing him, completely steals the show. For all of the B.I.G of Orlando’s clever wordplay, there’s nothing for me to connect to – so the humourous part of the tape stands out. When it comes to music, I need to feel something. Whether that’s something which makes me laugh, or makes me amped, something that makes me depressed or lifts my spirit. Ear Candy fails more often than it succeeds to create a bond between me and the music, and that’s something Schama has never failed at before.

For all of God’s Playlist’s sonic flaws, its lyrical content was emotionally resonant. Eternal Feels was heralded as Schama’s Take Care and so was obviously a hit to to the heartstrings. Ear Candy has to be respected for it’s technical brilliance. It is by no means a poor project, and calling it average earlier is harsh atleast. A respectful EP is something which will be rightly applauded at the time, but something that manages to establish a connection with it’s listener will be held dear for a lifetime. 

For your average rapper, this is an excellent effort. For Schama, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed. 

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