Soulfully thought-provoking and a true sign of the times. Just like on his stellar masterpiece debut album, Chicago: A Third World City. Chicago emcee Philmore Greene shows on his sophomore album, The Survival Scroll. Yet again why he’s not only easily one of the best emcees in all of Chicago, but Hip-Hop right now. His opening verse of, “It’s getting hard for me to breathe. Sign of the times, I’m covered in sheets. I’m loving my dreams. Reality it comes in my sleep. When I awake. Puff trees, ducked the disease. I made it. Always praying, stuck on my knees.” On the very bluesy guitar-infused Luis Blue-produced opening track, Live from the Metropolis. Showing just how great, thought-provoking and a true sign of the times the album really is. That so many can unfortunately relate to with the truly trying times so many of us are currently going through.
While a lot of the album is pretty thought-provoking like the intro track. The very playful Slot-A-produced, Whadown. Is a track that really lets Greene go off with a lyrical mastery that shows why he is one of the best emcees alive. The very goofy, playful, but chorus of, “Westside, Whad up? Southside, Whad up? Northside, Whad up? Chicago, Whadown?” From Slot-A, what makes the track so great too. The next track, I LOVE YOU. A very soulfully snap-heavy sampled SC-produced boom bap-infused record. That sees Greene breaking down the different meanings of love to him. The cuts by 5ifth Element, so perfectly complimentary of such a truly amazing record. That is very much almost in the vein of such classic Hip-Hop tracks as, Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s, They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.) or even fellow Chicago emcee Common’s timeless classic, I Used to Love H.E.R. As other examples of Hip-Hop tracks where the song’s title is broken into different meanings throughout the whole track. That then perfectly segues into the very soulfully jazzy Ahj Adams-produced, Dr. Sebi (Health). Where Greene raps about the greatness of his emceeing. That he compares to medicine with how everyone is almost like a fiend for his raps.
As we reach the near midway point of the album. Greene delivers what’s one of the most standout tracks on the album, Nighttime Maneuvers 3. A very soulfully INTLMC-produced track. That with its slow lacing drums, and snares. Let’s Greene stellar sharp rhymes of, “Financial freedom. We just trying to get by. Pac did it for Cali. It’s either live or die in the Chi. I was raised with n***as who lack the patience to make it. So the other was movin’, shakin’ and bakin’.” Also, “The best love is when you made it. When those Summers was filthy. You don’t hear me. My Questlove, like a drummer from Philly.” Showing how he is one of the greatest emcees and lyricists there is right now. That then perfectly seguing into the very jazzy slithering piano keys, drums other instrumentalized production of the Kenny Keys of the very standout, Time. That features fellow great emcee, Skyzoo and is the perfect backdrop for both emcees to show why they are two of the best truly pure emcees out right now.
One thing that makes this album so great too. Is how effortless Greene’s flow is. Which is shown on the Rashid Hadee-produced, Jams & Brie (Food). Another track that shows the seamless great chemistry that was shown by both Greene and Hadee throughout most, if not all of, Chicago: A Third World City. But isn’t shown as much on this album. With Hadee only producing two tracks all together here on Greene’s sophomore album.
By the time we reach the latter end of the album. The very banging Doc Da Mindbenda-produced, Watch the Beast (Air). That features UFO Fev, is yet another standout. Which truly let’s Greene show others again what a great emcee he is. The UFO Fev chorus more reggae-infused. That then perfectly seguing into the very boom-bap sample heavy 5ifth Element-produced, It’s Gon Be Ok (Water). That’s if not the best track on the album, definitely among the top two or three tracks on the album. The chorus of, “My granny always used to say, “We gotta pray.” Cause at the end of the day. Shits going to be Ok. It’s like the world is going crazy more and more, each and everyday. It’s gon be Ok. We living life through the struggle, we making a way.” One so many of us can relate to even more too. The interlude of, God. Perfectly setting up the very inspiringly soulful Rashid Hadee-produced, Generational Wealth. A truly very beautifully inspirational record that with its Peter Jericho and J. Ivy features. Is the perfect way to close out such a truly amazingly timeless album. That really lets Greene really show off his truly great emceeing and rhyming too. With the very inspiring and moving J. Ivy spoken word the perfect way to close out the album on such a high note.
Overall, just like his debut album. This is another really solid effort from Greene that truly is really another masterpiece album from beginning to end from the very talented Chicago emcee. Which also shows that even though it may not be as great as, Chicago: A Third World City, is. Greene can still deliver such a masterpiece album even without Hadee handling most of the production. As this album focuses more on the struggling times so many of us have gone through or are still going through and can relate to. In a way this being Greene’s, Death Certificate. Compared to Chicago: A Third World City being more so Greene’s, AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted. All great albums, but in different ways.