Updated: Oct 30, 2018
From high consciousness mini sermons to harsh reflections of childhood, Avery Harden’s album Illuminate explores the range of realities in family life, the capital hustle, and the perils of love. With an undeniable flow, Harden glides through verses and hooks with style and grace, most notably in his closing track Aves Freestyle. As soon as the bass hits and Harden drops in with the cutting rhythmic hook, you can’t help but feel the mojo. The beat in Hunnid 50K bangs hardest out of the record as the bass and kick bounce fat, the eeries synth whispers, and the sprinkler high-hats command the jam.
But the rhythm of his flow isn’t the only stand out. Harden’s content keeps it as real as it gets. Throughout the album, the listener is exposed to the nuanced commentaries on drugs, money chasin’, heartbreak, and family life. In Mojo, Harden’s high road mentality comes through with lines such as “ I’m too humble just to say I am the man, show humility and leave it to the fans.” Lines like these showcase the respect that Harden has for Hip-Hop and the commitment that he maintains to his craft.
After his humane humility is established, the next two tracks on the record offer the encouragement of illumination. A crucial kernel among today’s world of doubt and cynicism, Lil Light of Mine and We Shine They Doubtpierce through as mantras to the glow-up positivity. Stupid Cupiddrops more truth about the perilousness of heartbreak and the vicious cycle of the love and hate. Harden offers the wise warning to give oneself enough time to grow through the pain of letting someone go before moving forward.
Illuminate illustrates a path of positivity without abandoning the realness of the struggle. The record as a whole sends out vibes of hope and maintains the message to “dream big or not at all.”
Written by Jack Ventura Cruess - Community Breakout contributor