Hailing from New Jersey and New York, respectively, P-Wize and DJ C4 are a hip-hop duo that bring back images of the 1980’s with their DJ/MC match up. Known collectively as 9 Volt, they hope to make a name for themselves with their debut album “The Final Hour.”
As an emcee, P-Wize is eerily reminiscent of both Rakim and Big Daddy Kane in voice and style. Being able to conjure images of two of hip-hop’s great with your voice is definitely a compliment, but P-Wize shows he can hold his own without the comparisons to carry him. While not highly complex or lyrically mind-blowing, P-Wize provides a dope old-school-inspired flow and content that is varied enough not to get repetitive. A good example of what P-Wize has to off can be found on “Destiny” where he spits:
“I got a fetish for ripping mic cords and stage shows
I never let go like my nine’s my eggo
Catch another peso and move out like yayo
Looking for a better day so I must lay low
I break girls when they want the stick
Herb selling now legit, put holes through your click
Since you think you the ish, I’ma give you a flush
Smoke another black dutch, cuz I don’t drink too much”
The line about the Eggo was even more proof that P-Wize would have been right at home spitting with the Juice Crew back in the day when the infamous Eggo commercials first came out. Overall, P-Wize does a good job on the mic, with his voice giving him an edge over other up and coming emcees.
The production on “The Final Hour” ultimately holds back the group. Following the example set by Gangstarr, DJ C4 provides the scratching and the production for the duo. While at times C4 delivers some pleasing beats, he lacks any surefire hits or music that stands out and commands your attention. The beat on “Chivalry” is repetitive and sounds very artificial and electronic, a fate suffered by other tracks such as “Never Settling” and “Cool.” C4 seems to be a competent producer and has some standout tracks, but a lot of the music is forgettable and generic. Highlights do include “Sunrise to Sunset” which features an upbeat track with a driving piano melody and flute accompaniment. “Quiet on the Set” is the best track on the album, musically and lyrically, as C4 uses a minimalist approach to the beat with a dope, playful melody that once again makes you feel like these guys were influence by some of rap’s early pioneers.
“The Final Hour” is a promising debut that does showcase some of the crew’s strengths but is still with its problems. DJ C4 isn’t a bad producer, but tends to follow the current trend of cookie-cutter production. He show’s potential on some tracks, but his reliance on synthesizers on other tracks give the beats an artificial feel and detract from the album as a whole. With improved production there’s no reason 9-Volt couldn’t take their game to their next level or at least develop a loyal fan base. But for now, as is the case for a lot of cats entering into the game for the first time, there’s definitely room for improvement.