Jermiside & The Expert tackle real world issues in their stunning album ‘The Overview Effect’, an impassioned outpouring of socially conscious psychedelic hip-hop that comes to life with the goal of making a change for the better.
Stream: “Electric Boogie” – Jermiside & The Expert
There’s an undeniable urgency rippling throughout Jermiside and The Expert’s new album.
You can feel it in the bars and in the beats; you can hear it in the instruments, the samples, and even in Jermiside’s own, expressive, radiant voice. These are strange, unprecedented times we are living through; they were like that long before an infectious coronavirus swept across our country and the rest of the world, and in all likelihood, they’ll remain strange and unprecedented long after this pandemic subsides (if it ever does). Pick your poison: Systemic racism; gun violence; climate change; the prison industrial complex; police brutality; the racial and gender wealth gaps; corporate corruption and lobbying; war. There’s a lot to talk about and it can be easily overwhelming, but emcee-producer duo Jermiside & The Expert tackle our world’s many issues with love, poise, and verve in their new album. An impassioned outpouring of socially conscious psychedelic hip-hop, The Overview Effect comes to life with feverish energy and the unassailable goal of making a change for the better.
George Orwell was a prophet
the way he envisioned the future
make a dream seem microscopic
uncover things unseen with the fibre optic
computer screen, system meltdown like a chocolate
sci fi scenes rife with the type of topic
this life make you wanna take flight on a rocket
hope we don’t crash trying to text from the cock pit
we sucked in once we plugged into the socket
we connected but disconnected,
important s*** gets neglected
the young teens getting naked
private pics getting harvested, collected
and we accept it as young queens get infected
hectic, committing suicide when they rejected
hacking even helped the president we had elected
Released May 6, 2022 via Rucksack Records, The Overview Effect is a dynamic eruption of unbridled talent, raw emotion, and pure conviction from Atlanta-based rapper/producer Jermiside (a member of Lessondary Crew and one-half of The Red Giants) and Dublin, Ireland-based producer, The Expert. Inhabiting the sonic space between Nas’ Illmatic and Time Impala’s Currents, The Overview Effect is a stunning musical collage that harkens back to hip-hop’s golden age while forcing its listeners to be both reflective and forward-thinking. Inspired “by Marvin Gaye’s narrative on What’s Going On mixed with tripped-out beats reminiscent of Edan’s Beauty & The Beat,” the album feels urgent because it is urgent: We can’t fix our world’s litany of problems all at once, but if we don’t start somewhere, we’ll never get anything done.
“People sense that something’s wrong, but they’re still struggling to go back and find out what the real roots of the problem are,” an unattributed voice tells us in the album’s opening title track. “And I think what we need to come to is a realization that it’s not just fixing an economic or a political system, but it’s a basic worldview: The basic understanding of who we are that’s at stake.” This 30-second recording sets the stage for an album that leans into the issues, stands up for what its makers believe is right, and inspires others to join in a just cause.
For The Expert, The Overview Effect is about awareness through sound: “Personally it feels like a different chapter than my previous releases,” he tells Atwood Magazine. “A progression into a new psychedelic sound using new techniques to create a full body of work from start to finish. We had a very clear vision to create a psychedelic hip-hop record that discussed important issues going on in the world.”
Jermiside, for his part, considers the album a psychedelic social commentary.
“The Expert and I have had a pretty long working relationship for some time now,” he explains. “He had done a lot of remix work for me and my crew The Lessondary. He reached out a while ago about an idea for a concept record. He pretty much had it laid out in his mind already. I just hitched a ride on the train and took off essentially. I let the music guide me. I came in with no real vision which was actually refreshing, as most of the time I’m racking my brain trying to come up with a direction. It was cool to have some guidance and be able to be the paintbrush to The Expert’s creative vision.
For those unfamiliar with the term, “The Overview Effect” (coined by author Frank White) is a cognitive change of consciousness, reported by some astronauts and cosmonauts during spaceflight. “After observing our planet from the universe, they feel an obligation and responsibility to take care of that fragile blue dot forever.” The title fits all too well with this album’s goal of addressing and fighting to end injustice.
“While riding around listening to NPR I came across an astronaut describing his experience in space,” Jermiside recalls. “I don’t remember what he said exactly, but the feeling was described to the listeners as The Overview Effect, which is essentially a keen sense of awareness astronauts feel after viewing planet earth from the vantage point of space for the first time. The Expert and I were already fairly deep in the recording process and I felt this phenomenon fit the general vibe he had laid out perfectly.”
“I think it was cool to do a solid conceptual record with a dedicated theme,” he adds. “I think a lot of my previous work is really general in nature but this is a pretty intentional and focused body of work.”
From end to end, The Overview Effect takes its listeners on a journey not of lofty ideas, but of on-the-ground human interactions, experiences, actions, and emotions. “Martin Luther told me hatred was a bottomless emotion, but tell that to the slaves at the bottom of the ocean,” Jermiside raps at the top of the smoldering, searing “I Love You, Still?” featuring Libyan-Irish singer/songwriter Farah Elle. “The rage in they eyes cause a nautilus implosion, they yelling lack of fathers is the cause of this commotion. It’s going down as those falling off the boats drown; we watch the inner city turn into a ghost town. Friends stumble down the street like the walking dead, siren screams as I listen to a talking head.” Right off the bat, Jermiside & The Expert address the horrors that occur, and the question of “whether to fight hate with love.”
Possibility of finality realer and realer
life is a killer and casualty iller than thriller
man it’s a chiller and its ill for a black man
it make me wanna chase away my ghosts like Pacman
you terminators too yet it has to be me
depictions on the screen make you wanna smash a TV
weather small, big, tall, getting caught in a pitfall
attention deficit, we bouncing round like pinball
I wonder if they wishing that their actions are retractable
got us captive in a harsh condition not adaptable
“[That’s the grand opening,” The Expert says. “We wanted to start the album off with a bang. The track has a big brass section, dirty drums, reverse flutes, guitars, and then the grandiose vocal chorus sung by Farah Elle which questions Jermiside’s love for his country.”
“This title was really a double entendre,” Jermiside notes. “I love you still as a statement OR a question and I love, you steal. Native peoples on this planet have often been the most open, accepting, peaceful, and yet the most taken advantage of. Historically that kindness has been the downfall of many cultures. It really beckons the question: Should and why do we (still) love those who have done so much harm?”
It’s a standout introduction, and yet The Overview Effect only intensifies from there with “Electric Boogie,” a deep contemplation on technology and its effects on humanity. “I think “Electric Boogie” sticks out to me lyrically,” Jermiside says of this captivating groove – one which showcases his true mastery not only of the English language, but of a speaker’s ability to evoke an emotional response in their audience. He cites his favorite lyric: “Machine uprising exterminating YOU/It be something like Skynet in Terminator 2/Blue lights keep you wide awake while you trying to sleep/geo-tracking on ya ass late while you trying to creep. Those lines become more and more real by the day.”
The last lines of this song send palpable shivers down the spine:
a world full of smartphones, drones and clones
the fear of unknowns, we can feel it in our bones
the enemy invited right into our homes
it’s looking like our fall will be similar to Rome’s
In “Conflict,” the pair take on the wars and utter chaos that destroy lives in lines like, “Regimes like Saddam’s, but nuclear bombs, navy seals and marines that’ll shoot through ya Moms” and “Only deal with the truthful matters, society is backsliding like shoots and ladders and every day another one hundred new cadavers as those with little too loose, a bazooka splatters.” In the fervent, hair-raising “Bullet Shock,” they address police brutality and killings of young black men. In “Black Tears,” featuring Topeka, Kansas rapper Stik Figa, Black pain is channeled into a powerfully visceral and deeply emotive performance with a profoundly poetic, poignant and moving chorus:
Black ink scribbled on white sheets,
Each word driven by Black grief,
White noise haunted by black screams,
Black tears could fill up the Red Sea.
“As a Black man specifically, I wanted to speak about the feeling of needing an outlet to be vulnerable,” Jermiside explains, “but not feeling safe enough in the world to be able to express anything outside of the rock-hard persona we are so accustomed to upholding.”
And that’s just the album’s first half. The churning, charged “Middle Ground” attempts to connect those whose ideologies strand them from one another, while the fiery single “For the Money” addresses what the pair call “the chase of cash.” “Crime Rule the City,” featuring hip-hop group Tanya Morgan, offers a bleak picture of “the underbelly of hip-hop culture.” “Ecology” is a heated reflection on our relationship with nature and the environment that ends with a recording of a man’s voice telling us, “Let me make one important point: Don’t worry about the planet. The planet is fine; we’re the problem.“
The government got control on us
religion got a hold on us
But on this planet ain’t a man i know to trust
many laws and lies that’s beholden us,
trying to paint a better picture so off the scripture I blow the dust
forsake the lord and take the sword
and never deal with the real matters what we’re gravitating toward
what we ignore is we can move on one great a accord,
great lord another war we just cant afford
extremists, make me squeamish, they can’t distinguish
between things that’s, real, and often dreamish
with dogmas they cant relinquish
but on the other side who’s to say the universe can’t be seen as genius?
– “Middle Ground,” Jermiside & The Expert
The album ultimately concludes with “A Little Love,” a hopeful and joyous conclusion full of an insatiable soulful warmth. “Love is when you find you one to love until ya time is done, and when she on the line her voice remind you of the shining sun,” Jermiside breathes out. “… Love is when you true to brothers, love is what you do for others, love is when you heard a lullaby before you knew ya mother’s…” There’s an innocence about this ending; one gets the sense that this state of love is what the rest of The Overview Effect has been fighting for: To enshrine life’s beauty and wonder so that it can be passed down and experienced by future generations.
the look, in ya son’s eyes, the look of the sunrise,
words can’t describe it, even though everyone tries
it come in different colors for others, no one size
you can’t imagine or fathom of what it’s comprised
you’ll lay it all on the line to feel it one time
Investing all ya time spending every one dime
Be such a shame if you blind to the true divine
It’s the universal language of human kind
“I love the way The Expert’s production is constantly in motion, always changing in ways you don’t necessarily expect,” Jermiside says of the album as a whole. “It keeps the listeners on their toes waiting for the next turn in the songs. “I’d like listeners to just reflect in general: Take a brief break and kinda analyze the totality of life and how significant AND insignificant we are at the same time.”
“To be honest I really love the whole album and how it all works together as one piece,” The Expert says. “I hope listeners can enjoy the album on a few levels. That they can just bump it, but then find layers within the production and lyrics on each repeat listen. I think I’ve taken away to always push for your vision if you really believe in it.”
There’s a lot to love and hate about our world as it is right now. Together, Jermiside and The Expert have captured today’s issues in an accessible way that very few have managed to do in recent years. The Overview Effect is an undeniable achievement worth everyone’s ears, time, and attention.
Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Jermiside & The Expert’s The Overview Effect with Atwood Magazine as both artists take us track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their new album!
:: stream/purchase The Overview Effect here ::
Stream: ‘The Overview Effect’ – Jermiside & The Expert
:: Inside The Overview Effect ::
The Overview Effect
The Expert: Short introduction to help set the scene for what topics the album will lyrically with hints to the psychedelic soundscapes to come musically.
I Love You, Still? (featuring Farah Elle)
The Expert: The grand opening. Wanted to start the album off with a bang. The track has a big brass section, dirty drums, reverse flutes, guitars, and then the grandiose vocal chorus sung by Farah Elle which questions Jermiside’s love for his country.
Jermiside: This title was really a double entendre. I love you still as a statement OR a question and I love, you steal. Native peoples on this planet have often been the most open, accepting, peaceful, and yet the most taken advantage of. Historically that kindness has been the downfall of many cultures. It really beckons the question: should and why do we (still) love those who have done so much harm?
The Expert: Laid back beat which comes in with beautiful lush vocal harmonies for the chorus to act as a juxtaposition for Jermiside’s lyrics about the worrying aspect to how technology is used in modern society and how it is effecting us all.
Jermiside: This song has become even more and more relèvent since I wrote it. Now with the metaverse, web3, blockchain technology, incoming best altcoins for 2023 and a whole onslaught of new technological developments the reality of a strange new world has crept even closer upon us.
Jermiside: “Conflict, never ending”. You don’t even have to look far to see everything described in the lyrics. Pick a time frame, pick a conflict. From Ukraine to Burkina Faso.
The Expert: Psychedelic soundscape with sitars, Moogs and organs for the first section before changing to a more sober feeling to match the sadness of Jerms lyrics about war.
Jermiside: This sounded like an old blues record to me. The music made me reflect on the killing of Timothy Thomas (Cincinnati), Mike Brown (Saint Louis) and countless others who died at the hands of the police.
The Expert: Kinda odd, weird guitar-driven beat with a relentless feel that matches the ongoing challenges between the police and people of colour. The vocal chorus deals with the issue of how police can continue to kill black people and not face the correct consequences.
Black Tears (featuring Stik Figa)
The Expert: Funky driving bass line followed by a hard fuzz guitar to accentuate the powerful Stik Figa chorus. It turns quite dark and psychedelic for Jermiside last verse which may be my favourite part of the whole album.
Jermiside: The Expert had this song laying on the cutting room floor and thought it might work in the context of the album. I agreed and added in my parts. Black people’s (and probably people of colors’) mental health has been a very overlooked topic that is just now seeing some light in the public eye, which is great. I wanted to contribute to that conversation.
The Expert: Organs, reverb, banging drums, eerie backing vocals and trumpet line that then turns quite beautiful. A reverse piano and synths section breaks up Jerms verses before leading into the hopeful organ outro which offers hope to all. End with some reverse trumpets and guitars.
Jermiside: Extremism. This one was pulled from the archives. Balance is essential in every aspect of the universe. As a somewhat religious person myself I witness how it can be to drift toward either end of the spectrum. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) once spoke on the importance of taking the middle path. That’s what I aim for.
The Government Is A…
The Expert: After a whirlwind first half to the album this track acts as a brief dark comedic break for listeners. Governments are often jokes and here we have a number of American presidents whose actions and lies effect the average citizen with huge consequences and difficulties. Inspired by Dj Shadow’s “Why Hip Hop Sucks in ’96”
For The Money
Jermiside: This song is real life from a moment in time. Pretty much everything written in this song is a reflection of what I was going through and feeling at that moment in time.
The Expert: Musically the first half of this track has a smooth psychedelic feel good sound with some funk before changing into a more emotional section which deals with the power and effect money has on us.
Crime Rule The City (featuring Tanya Morgan)
Jermiside: I thought it’d be cool to write from the perspective of an outlaw in the early days of hip-hop. Everybody knows how hip-hop was a positive uniting force in the streets of NY but there was definitely another world that existed at the same time. Even now as you look at the loss of life among the younger generation in hip-hop.
The Expert: The uptempo banger. Guitars, strings descend and rise before leading into a beautifully bizarre guitar chords section to fit Von Pea’s verse before returning to the relentless anger feel that Don Will spits.
The Expert: May not sound like it but this beat was inspired by RZA’s production on GZA’s “Liquid Swords’ album. Wanted to create a really driving, repetitive head nodder with psychedelic splashes of reversed guitar and vocal chops.
Jermiside: To feel like you’re floating through life can be liberating. I suppose that’s how the hippies moved through the 70’s, free and spirited, just gliding. This rhyme is intentionally very free form. Kind of all over the place but still intentional.
Jermiside: I must’ve been watching a lot of nature shows at this time. I made reference to a lot of interesting things here. Environnmental news can be daunting.
The Expert: Probably the most ‘trippy’ beat on the album. Really love the weird flutes break before it switches into a funky banger. The outro vocal loop is something I have wanted to incorporate for years so delighted to sneak that in here.
The Expert: A collage piece with different vocal snippets. A short musical break before the finale that tries to sum up the record in a very short space of time.
A Little Love
Jermiside: Since the album was largely about the issues facing the world I wanted to end it off with something positive. This song reminded me of a Blackalicious record, I sort of channeled Gift of Gab with the rhyme scheme here.
The Expert: A hopeful, joyous slice of psychedelic boom bap. Joyous horns, lush flutes and a hopeful and catchy soulful chorus. Production was inspired by The Avalanches.
:: stream/purchase The Overview Effect here ::
‘The Overview Effect’ – Jermiside & The Expert
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