Necro :: Brutality Part 1 :: Psycho+Logical Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

Think about a jar of jam. Do the words "With a name like Smuckers, it has to be good" pop into your head? Thinking about Psycho+Logical Records has the same effect for me. "With a name like Necro, it has to be sick." The label's founder and star artist records songs that are unapologetically gory for the sake of entertainment, the rap equivalent of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" or "Nightmare on Elm Street." While artists like Brotha Lynch Hung and Esham have taken pride in being sick on the mic, for Necro it's a way of life. His website proudly markets a bevy of brutality, and his empire has even expanded into directing and selling pornographic films.

None of it would be noteworthy were it not for Necro's hip-hop skills. While his lyrics walk a fine line between campy and creepy, his self-produced beats are sharp like a fresh razor blade. Underground fans already knew it by the time "I Need Drugs" came out, but putting all his hot indie singles on one album and putting it in stores nationwide helped him reach a new level of infamy. Since then Psycho+Logical has been dropping album after album rapid fire, including collections of his sickest guest appearances on radio shows and freestyle flows. "Brutality Part 1" is all new songs though, designed to slay the minds of fans and foes alike. He wastes little time getting macabre on the opener "I'm Your Idol":

"I rock a pair of butter Nikes
And blood drips on my kicks when the boxcutter strikes - your flesh
Your skin is tender, it's shredded like it's in a blender
The red drips from your head, in the tint of magenta
You're left gory, cats that be thuggin or buggin
if they bring it towards me, reverse it
Take a walk back, reheased it, think it over, direct it
at someone else that will flip on you and stab you for respect kid
Your idol, your average psycho, I'll leave you bludgeoned
I pack a rifle listen up cousin I'll leave you stuffed in - a coffin
Cut up like diamonds, shut up when I'm rhymin a gat
Your mouth blowed off {*BLAM*} don't get me upset"

One certainly has to credit Necro the intelligence and wit to verbally up the ante in depravity, finding creative ways to describe the horrorshow and keep his droogies happy. The music however is key - a simply effective drumtrack and a symphonic backdrop meld together into a hip-hop banger that may even lull you into overlooking vivid misogyny like "fuck you you're a bitch, I should stuff you in a ditch [...] get you open like a clitoris, shove a knife in your tits." Necro's raspy Nuevo York flow always sounds sincerely depraved, so even if it's a joke and he's laughing at his own tracks, he doesn't let on in the song. In fact, with the exception of Freddie Foxxx, there's probably no underground rapper who so consistantly sounds pissed off and fed-the-fuck-up.

Necro spreads the wealth around on "Brutality Part 1" and invites his fellow indie artists like Goretex and Mr. Hyde to the party, some of whom owe their best produced tracks to Necro's musical horrorshow. "Reign in Blood" features Ill Bill, a track on which Necro proclaims himself "a robotic murderer with a computer in the spine - my creator has programmed me to kill you with a rhyme." His song certainly sounds synthetically electronic, using the far left side of a keyboard distorted to darkness while a spooky piano plinks the same notes in a higher key throughout. "Street Veteran" is almost uplifting by comparison - still darkly dope but mixing in wind instruments that make it sound like the passage to a tragic opera. Bill gets a solo shot on "Swordfish" rapping to a track little more than pounding drums and violin strings, and it's hauntingly effective - don't be surprised to catch a chill down your spine. Goretex also gets a solo on "The Big Sleep" and it's a moment on the album where the spineless wimps who can't handle Necro's decapitation tales will have to appreciate Goretex' Non-Phixion narrative instead:

"One time for sharp cats, killers who Biblical
There's two ghettoes, one of the mind, the other physical
The Big Sleep, put you in line with thug spiritual
From pyramids to projects, sex and drug criminals"

The music on this cut will leave you open like a whore in one of Necro's movies. "White Slavery" is one of the rare misses - a piano cut which does stay tense but doesn't really achieve the ill that he's capable of. "Scumbags" puts things back on track somewhat, although it may be too dissonant for some. "Frank Zito" pulses with evil, and "Our Life" is another of those tracks that's beautiful to listen to no matter how savage Necro's words are. In this case though, he attempts to justify his obsession with depravity by looking back on his childhood:

"Remember violence at only one
I used to watch how my pops would treat a girl
and beef with the world, he had a bone to pick
That's why my dome is sick, it rubbed off on me
Cause the apple don't fall far from the tree G
You cats keep your distance
Cause you scared I might flip in an instant
When I was filled with innocence, I was still committing sins
Half of you cats are sweet like cinnamon"

True or not, you're not left long to ponder it when Necro gets right back to "Morbid Shit" on the next track. Credit where it's due, Necro never slips out of character for a second. It may take a dark sense of humor to appreciate lines like "I'm as morbid as it gets, and if there's anybody more morbid than me they're probably dead" but for rap fans who laugh at zombie flicks Necro's music will strike all the right notes - literally. Tracks like "Fire" and the saxophone funk of "Watch Ya Toes" are among the underground scene's best, and even though Necro dismisses "backpackers as fudgepackers" they are the ideal audience for beats this fresh. Unlike the Insane Clown Posse, Necro manages to do horrorcore hip-hop without becoming a parody of himself, and thanks to his never-ending arsenal of dope tracks on wax he will continue to win converts. This album isn't for the faint of heart or those without strong stomachs, but when Necro brags that you can't imagine an underground New York mix tape without one of his songs on it, he might just be right.

Music Vibes: 8.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7.5 of 10

Originally posted: October 28, 2003