Chris Webby – Chemically Imbalanced (eOne Music)

Connecticut MC issues impressive solo debut, bridging the gap between underground and commercial

Released Oct 27th, 2014 via eOne Music / By Sam Bennett
Chris Webby – Chemically Imbalanced (eOne Music) Chris Webby is a Connecticut MC who has been slowly building a loyal fanbase since 2008, releasing a number of successful mixtapes and EPs to a good response. Chemically Imbalanced is his debut studio album, released through eOne Music; it features collaborations with Dizzy Wright, Jarren Benton, Tech N9ne and a number of other names any hip hop head will be excited to hear.

The 26 year old MC displays his tight flow and rhymes throughout the 17 track album, bound to impress the underground faithful, as well as always maintaining a certain commerciality that will appeal to a mainstream audience.

The album gets under way with 'Nice 2 Be Back', with an emphatic instrumental, with Webby spitting frantically over hard hitting drums, cutting electric guitar and a simplistic (but effective) piano line. The Fucking intense like Native American sex bar is a low point, but I let it slide since the rest of the track is pretty convincing and Chris Webby has an engaging tone.

Following this comes one of the standouts, 'So Eazy' features one of the sickest beats I've heard for a while. It's produced by SAP, who has made beats for Mac Miller and The Game, amongst a long list of household names. The crisp drums and cheeky vocal samples are perfect for Chris' melodic flow. The Scott Storch produced 'Set It Off' is another heavy cut; Chemically Imbalanced certainly has a strong opening, and the anthemic horns suit the vibe and concept.

Something that I've noticed throughout Chris Webby's career is the fact that he definitely has an excellent taste in collaborators. He's worked with so many dope MC's, including Prodigy, Apathy, Method Man....the list goes on and on. He collaborates with Funk Volume's Dizzy Wright on 'Turnt Up', which is a nice little reggae infused number, and Webby and Wright both show off their rapid paced flows. Jarren Benton, also of Funk Volume, and Strange Music's Tech N9ne join Webby on 'Ohh Noo', which is a dark, hard hitting track produced by Brix. This is one of the standouts on the album, with each MC delivering a frantic, high tempo verse.

New Jersey producer Skrizzly Adams contributes the beat for 'World On Fire', and he also holds down the chorus. Chris Webby' spits a personal verse, and Jon Connor also puts in a dope appearance. It's a little commercial for my taste, but it's not too much of a shameful crossover cut. 'Dopamine' is another highlight, with Talib Kweli delivering an excellent verse, B-Real savagely riding the beat, Trae The Truth coming with a heavy contrasting style and Grafh also giving a superb showing.

Chemically Imbalanced proves to be a pretty solid album from Chris Webby. He can clearly rap, and his flow impresses at many points on the project. Some of the production and songwriting occasionally strays too much on the radio friendly side, but there are a good number of good beat choices, and many credible guest appearances.

It's an impressive debut album from Chris, and he's shown he can make a transition from online downloads to actual sales, the album sold 13,000 copies in it's first week of release in the States. With a clear brand and good ability, I'm looking forward to hearing what he comes out with next.