Review by Daniel C. Warshaw
Sivion's first solo album, Mood Enhancement, starts off appropriately with his Mood Intro - a short overture that sets the tone for the disc with light hearted pre-song conversation and lyrics that make plain his intentions to share his love of Jesus Christ. What follows is an album full of amazing rapping and straight-forward lyrics, punctuated occasionally by guests' descriptions about what "enhances their moods."
Even the casual listener will be taken aback by rapping that's distinctively Sivion. The intricate rhythms and rhyming patters are reminiscent of quality hip-hop poetry, while the lyrics themselves send out a hard-to-miss message about various aspects of his faith, notably on Flood Gates, The Name Game, Fly so High, and What is it?
There are a few surprises on the CD as well, not least of which are the guest spots from Deepspace 5 and Phonetic Composition. The most unexpected elements of the disc, however, are the songs featuring and about members of his family.A.N.D.R.E.O.N. features Sivion's five-year-old son both producing and rhyming, adding a typically unheard-of cuteness to a hip-hop release. Equally touching is the lyrically excellent tribute to his wife, S.H.A.N.N.A.N., on which Sivion expertly rhymes his way through the letters of his spouse's name.
Unfortunately, Mood Enhancement suffers in the beat department. With the exception of a few gems such as In the Know and What is it?, most of the tracks produced by Sivion sound a little amateur. While many listeners may expect this from a first effort, some of the tracks are more than simply unpolished; The Search contains a drum beat that sounds as if it was lifted straight from a Casio keyboard - including the descending tom fill. Out of the Blue is simply overcrowded; too many layers make it difficult to decipher which way the beat is moving.
Without a doubt Sivion created an album that highlights his outstanding rap skills. Even with beats that draw attention to Mood Enhancement's freshman status, listeners will be treated to songs that profess the hope of Christianity without feeling as if the lyrics are forced. If hip-hop fans are looking for unique new rapping talent, this is a disc to pick up.