Clipse member No Malice has put out his solo debut album at just the right time to ensure the world doesn't forget about him in the midst of his Clipse duo mate Pusha T's growing stardom, i.e. collaborations with big hitters, e.g. Kanye West, and some well made mix tapes and EPs. Luckily the album is solid, projecting No Malice further into the field of dynamic artists who have grown and developed even after a long streak in a successful group act. The album is mainly humble yet slightly self important, except for the motivational anthem "Different." No Malice takes us along on the bumpy road of his synopsis of the dangerous elements of hustling drugs and its morbid consequences and all the other setbacks of life.
No Malice is a tad low key here but with power and force enough to show he has true belief in the words he is speaking. On "Smoke & Mirrors" he raps on the triviality of the insignificant deals rappers get hooked into and how they are a drop in the bucket to the corporations that sign these artists. This instance is a pure example of exposing the truth in a deliberately candid way. On more than one occasion on the album, No Malice touches on the delicate subject surrounding the death of his brother to drugs and how it affected his mother, especially since he himself dabbled in the trade soon after. It's a very personal moment for the emcee who has made a career out of documenting the horrors of the cocaine dealing business. The teachings of the lessons of life and the explanations of personal regrets are all on the album and paint a grim picture until we realize No Malice is trying to help us listeners learn from his mistakes and shortcomings. The production is modest yet tantalizingly lively so the project has strong velocity moving forward. The list of guest appearances is one of the strongest points of this album. The names are not too famous or attention grabbing, and they can really rock the mic. They include Ab-Liva, Fam-Lay, Pusha-T (of course), and Jaeson Ma among others.
Hear Ye Him is just short of outstanding only due to a little stagnation in variety of topics. No Malice seems too preoccupied with economically downtrodden drug dealers, and while they are a suitable demographic to cover in subject, they are not the only ones that can be nicely discussed. Even if he spends one song on the album, "Different," speaking to uplift everybody, it's only one song, and the best message only comes in on the chorus. Nevertheless, Hear Ye Him is a respectable album and a strong first solo effort from a very talented emcee.