Little Vic :: Each Dawn I Die :: Orena Records/Fat Beats
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"In the midst of the bullshit
Little Vic, lunatic, got a full deck
And a couple tricks ain't been pulled yet
When I wake like a newborn; another road I'ma troop on"

In a mountainous and completely random pile of promotional material Little Vic's "Each Dawn I Die" reached out and grabbed my attention. Perhaps it was the shrinkwrap promising cameo appearances by Kool G. Rap and DJ Premier. Perhaps it was the album cover itself, styled to look like an old time newspaper with a mafia headline and accompanying photo. It may have even been the album's weight and size - about half the thickness of your typical "gem case" CD, possibly even printed on that biodegradeable stock greenies are so fond of. Whatever the case may be "Each Dawn I Die" frustrated me as much as it intrigued me at the start. The distributor sent albums from two artists in the same package and as a cost cutting measure inserted a double sided one sheet to go along with them. This of course passes the buck to me - I'm now forced to fax or photocopy the other side so I can give it to whatever writer reviews the other album. Furthermore I tend to rip the albums I review so I can easily run through them multiple times, but both iTunes and Windows Media Player drew a blank on pulling up Little Vic's tracklisting. You may think it an idle complaint to say I had to type in the song names by hand, but the unnaturally crooked font on the back is made harder to read by being printed in brown on a solid black surface. Little Vic better not be wasting my time.

Fortunately the opening and title track of "Each Dawn I Die" makes a strong impression. It's hell trying to read the back cover but if I'm not mistaken Lunatik Mind laced up the first song on this album. After a minute long introduction Vic jumps onto the beat and the entire presentation is instantly reminiscent of Non Phixion for all of the right reasons, save perhaps for the conspiracy raps, but he's definitely got dark overtones and a well developed flow. Most importantly Vic has the kind of ego which bolsters a relative unknown making his first major release in hip-hop. Even when spitting a slightly cliched backpacker refrain Vic adds style with a punchline all his own:

"I don't wanna hear about your dough, or your hoes, or your coke
Or the bottle you popped, or the bottle you broke
Or the models you hope to bone - no
No disrespect, I'd rather listen to Tone Loc"

Same here Vic! As for those aforementioned cameo appearances, Kool G. Rap shows up to get "Caked Up," a track which gives old school and new school equal opportunity to fuck shit up. Big KO's beat here is understated yet highly appreciated for giving G. Rap's crispy lisp exceptional clarity. "When I pull up aside of your whip, it ain't for Grey Poupon/and that EMS niggaz better have to save coupons." Premier makes his promised contribution on a track called "The Ex Artist," which is immediately and pleasantly reminiscent of a GangStarr beat. If Vic didn't spit heat to this beat that hand typed rip of his disc would get instantly deleted, but thankfully this grimy italiano has the necessary gusto:

"Some for the content, all for delivery
Pick a part of rap and Vic'll heart attack it visibly
Serious is as serious does, collect the wisdom
Rushed over to Premier for the exorcism
Speak your mind, never get too scientific
I'm a flying discus over your hat, an iron-fisted collab'
The kind of vicks/Vic's only to keep 'em comin back
Slammin the MP will have 'em hummin that"

Curiously Vic's proposal on this song is as dope as it is contradictory, as his suggestion to not go over people's heads is couched in phrasing that DEFINITELY WILL. While this may be to his detriment in crossover appeal it's definitely a innoculation of intelligence in a genre that of late has been overwhelmed with ignorant sickness. Vic benefits from linking up with the right peers on "Each Dawn I Die" to push his album in the independent scene. Double Shot handles a majority of the tracks including bangers like "Dying Slowly" and the soulful "This Is What it Sounds Like," a song which does the wrestling mark in me proud when Vic says he's a "Bam Bam Bigelow" who will "Van Dam kick a flow." Long-time underground favorite Buckwild gets a shot too on "The Evil That Men Do" and hooks it up lovely. The two biggest things Vic has going against him on "Each Dawn I Die" are being almost totally unknown outside of New York, and the general tendency of even 2008's most progressive hip-hoppers to mistrust pale skinned MC's. If you give Little Vic the same chance I did though you might be pleasantly surprised.

Music Vibes: 7.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8 of 10

Originally posted: March 25, 2008