E SENS’ career has been through a wild ride. After leaving his duo Supreme Team and label in 2013, he was sentenced to jail on two separate occasions for marijuana use. He is currently serving his second sentence. These obstacles would seem to provide little space for E SENS to develop himself as a musician.
However, during those years, he continued to release online singles here and there. These singles were all promising and revealed E SENS’ huge potential as a solo artist. He recently took a wildly unexpected step and released his long-awaited and long-delayed solo album — from jail.
This is one album, of many, that makes me wish I knew Korean fluently. From reading the few available translations, E SENS’ lyrics seem to be the most special part of this album. True to the album title, they are all anecdotes from E SENS’ life. They’re well-written, intriguing, and honest. And although most tracks contain serious topic matter, the album is thoroughly jam-worthy; E SENS knows how to be simultaneously hip and poetic.
E SENS’ musical approach indicates that he wants to shine the spotlight on his lyrics. The arrangements are minimal, lightweight, repetitive, and provide plenty of open space for E SENS to run free with his performance. Despite playing the role of supporting E SENS, the arrangements are complex and tasteful. Most of them are from scratch and synth-based rather than looping samples. Without the rapping, the tracks could work effectively as electronic pieces.
I like the way E SENS is fully present in his rapping. He fires straight through his verses without taking many breaths, giving his performance a breathless, urgent quality that fits well with the cathartic nature of the lyrics.
The Anecdote is an all-around well-done hip-hop album. E SENS is on top of his game in rapping, lyrics, producing, and composing. And despite how polished it is, The Anecdote is personal and sincere enough to really stick. The intensity of these past few years for E SENS have seemed to really pay off in his music.