What a jumbled incoherent mess this shot is. I wanted to get into it, and to tell the truth, lyrically, there's some cool shit said on this album, but if ever a case was to be made that delivery is more important than content, this album would prove it.
Sloppy beats, poor mic-mixing, poor song layout, and overall jarring and grating production make this album REAL hard to get into. At least for me, and probably for other people who like their albums to not sound like a weird amalgamation of keyboard blips, throwaway sci-fi noises, drumbeats that don't beat and rhythmic patterns of delivery that seem to not have much rhythm in em. Now I understand there are fans of hip hop in this style, and they're primarily in it for the words being spoken. To ya'll..check this out, maybe you'll like it. But I'm one of the mindsets that says if I gotta wince and grimace through really shitty beats and poor rhyme cadence to pluck out a few gem couplets, then fuck it.
Now, it'd probably be easier if I break it down with the stuff I liked, since there's not much of it. "Divine Powerz" is a nice cut, indeed, with probably the most accessible, flowing beat on the whole LP, and probably the best sounding, too. "Strange Fruit" is also pretty nice, and the lyricism displayed on the track holds up nicely with equal parts knowledge and sarcasm and battle shit dropped.
"Ancient Ritualz" also bangs a little, mostly because of the buildup to the first verse and the actual verse that builds mood. It's like the MC is trying to overpower the beat, and with good reason. Too bad he doesn't quite win. The 2nd MC has a dope voice, and almost brings the whole thing together into a decent whole. "U.S.A" has a smooth beat laying under some nice flows and probably the best MC interplay on the album.
But it's not enough to save the album from the utter trainwrecks of the other 11 tracks on the album. These songs are just grating and unwelcoming to the ears. Maybe that was the intention, yunno, and maybe I just sound like some old fart complaining about "it's just noise" but yo, it IS just noise on a lot of these songs. There's no funk in em. No musicality of any kind. Not even raw beat to it, propulsive drums. Nothin. It's just too jumbled and irritating for me to even attempt to get into it. It gives me a headache. Not that good "aww, yeah, I've been noddin my neck so hard to this shit I hadn't even noticed" type headache, but that "It's like a hook is being scraped against the inside of my skull" headache. I like some of the stuff they're trying to say, but I don't understand why'd they wanna bury it underneath this sonic sludgeheap.
Music Vibes: 3 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 4.5 of 10
Originally posted: September 29, 2000