Ephelant & Time Bring Heat On ‘How To Sew Wounds With Words’
Chris “Time” Steele and Stephen “Ephelant” Vining collaborate and deliver a captivating LP
The name Chris Steele won’t ring a bell with many. To quote the legendary Ron Isley, “it’s a damn shame!” Steele wears “lots of hats” – He’s a rapper (Time), a producer, and a journalist. Safe to say, Chris Steele is one gifted mother – “shut your mouth” [Obligatory self-censorship via Isaac Hayes’ “Shaft”]. Sigh, sometimes the most gifted aren’t always the first or last recognized.
After listening and analyzing Time’s collaboration with Walking Dead actor Stephen “Ephelant” Vining, it’s clear Time deserves his just due. Nine-track album How To Sew Wounds With Words is a stimulating listen. Ephelant delivers on the production end, while Time nails the rhymes. Steele asserts:
the album is written like a diary entry confronting issues such as creativity, depression, anti-homeless legislation, inequality, foreclosures, environmental collapse, and police violence.
How Does Time Sew Wounds With Words?
Time delivers a poetic, quasi-rapped and quasi-spoken word performance on the opener, “Under a Complicated Sky.” Though set in a major key, it possesses a mysterious vibe. This vibe is fitting, given the mentally stimulating rhymes.
“Fyodor and Foucault were smoking and throwing up / I wondered why we only cry for our own as the middle east was blowing up”
If “Complicated Sky” was a warm-up, “Falling Up” amplifies the intensity. Fully embracing the alternative/underground lane, Time is on fire. “Falling Up” isn’t ‘catchy’ in the traditional since, he manages to concoct a sufficiently catchy hook – a bonus for a joint like this.
“Arms out I’m flying, arms out I’m flying…/a tear hits my head, I’m falling faster than I’m crying”
“Letter to a Hostage”
On “Letter to a Hostage,” Time is on autopilot. Malicious production serves as an inspirational backdrop for him to paint fearless, agile rhymes on. Guiseppe provides contrast on the hook – a prudent move. This allows Time a “breather” to his next high-flying verse. The best verse is number three, where he references Stockholm syndrome, among other things! His passion and aggressiveness are pitch-perfect.
“Sometimes the hostage is the kidnapper and victim / as well as the homicide, accomplice, and witness / your mom’s been calling me asking me why you ain’t been home / but it’s kind of hard to explain to her Stockholm syndrome”
“Foreclosed Ghost Story” flexes on, featuring haunting vocals from Church Fire on the hook. Time remains consistent, delivering clever, socially relevant rhymes. Expectedly and amazingly, he expands and transcends upon “the old house, where we used to play them board games,” delivering a compelling narrative. Time also delivers a testimony of sorts, sans religious references or affiliation.
“How To Sew Wounds With Words”
“How To Sew Wounds With Words” finds the rapper dreaming. Although he dreams, he does so reasonably instead of outlandishly.
“I just wanna be content, I don’t want a crown / I just want to sell out a small venue or three / I just want to feel respected for just being me.”
Aside from his dreams, Time brilliant connects “How to Sew Wounds With Words” to the previous number. The title track masterfully blends emotion, narrative, and social issues. Transcendence and meaningfulness continues to be the M.O.
“So much changed my neighborhoods gone from gentrification / from false foreclosures to criminal inflation”
Ephelant does double duty, producing and dropping respectable bars on “My Shadow.” Time returns for the second verse, honestly admitting to his personal issues:
“I know I’m insecure, that’s why I talk shit / I’m really just mad cause I never dropped a hit / I know I’m an asshole, I know I’m selfish / I got a big ego, I really can’t help it”
“The New Scum” & “World War Me”
Two surefire gems follow “Shadow” – “The New Scum” and “World War Me.” “The New Scum” suggests the human race are destroying the world. He points his fingers at specific examples, but the broad picture – the WE – is the biggest culprit.
He switches from WE to ME on “World War Me” – to an extent. While Time asserts “The Biggest battle I ever fought was World War Me,” he still speaks to WE detailing a messed up society alive and, well, damning. The production is downright terrifying, in the most alluring fashion possible.
“F*ck all the hate mail if my families eating / and f*ck playing by the rules if everyone’s cheating”
“2:15 a.m.” concludes How To Sew Wounds With Words excellently. Initially more poetic, “2:15 a.m.” evolves into a full-fledged rap. Ultimately, it sews the wounds seamlessly.
All in all, Ephelant & Time delivers a complex and riveting LP with How To Sew Wounds With Words. The collaboration is a magnificent marriage of disturbing, yet radiant production, and mind-provoking rhymes. Indeed, Time does just as the title asserts, “sews wounds with words,” showcasing immense intelligence, robust vocabulary, and investment in societal issues.
Gems: “Letter to a Hostage” (ft. Guiseppe), “How To Sew Wounds With Words,” “The New Scum” & “World War Me”
Ephelant & Time • How To Sew Wounds With Words • Release: 7.26.16
Photo Credit: Seth Tobocman