“Built on Stolen Land” is an eight track album by artist Silas Luster. Over the course of its modest runtime of 16 minutes, Silas brings together different ideas about opposing authority, the establishment, and the idea of America. I found this album to be bold with grandiose themes and Silas’s ability to say a lot in a short time.
The album starts with Eat the Evil, which has Silas rapping over a slow laidback beat. The instrumental is minimalist, and I think that was a conscious decision as it helps listeners focus more on the message than the melody. Silas showcases his strong storytelling skills and the idea of stolen land. Silas is all about fighting for what’s right and the ground eventually eating up the vile and cruel. There are references to social injustice, police brutality, and imprisonment as a means of control. As an opening track, it packs a lot of punch and immediately establishes a serious atmosphere.
Playgrounds have a nostalgic feel to the beat and production, and Silas’s rapping reminds me of the soundness of Westside Gunn. Lost Village is a song about loss, misery and boasts an overall darker aesthetic to it. I loved how Silas came through with the message of accepting oneself and one’s situation. State of Mind starts with a hard-hitting beat with a slight lo-fi element to it. The track was insightful as it offered a window into Silas’s mind. I especially enjoyed the amazing flow and the storytelling that he employed. Silas has a way of focusing on a topic and delivering bar after bar into the theme. Interlude had a heavenly saxophone and a soul influence to it. I enjoyed Silas’s slick and smooth rapping.
Ghost of Bu was an intricate track that had Silas rapping about his dedication to fighting for what’s right until he’s buried deep. My only complaint with this track was that it was way too short. I feel the track lengths for a majority of the tracks could be improved, as Silas has a lot to say. Our Return had Silas punching bar after bar with his eyes on the prize. The album ends with Lonely Road. It starts with a lovely soul sample and exhibits Silas’s hunger in his quest to improve himself. He reflects on his growth over the track and has cheeky bars tucked in here and there. I found the “Van Gogh with two ears” bar amusing and clever.
Overall, “Built on Stolen Land” is a cohesive albeit short album. If you want to listen to something different, relaxing, and contemplative, try this album!