The duo from East St. Louis of Scripts 'N Screwz aims to "bring rap back to when the lyrics were the most important element," according to their Myspace page. There is nothing wrong with this notion aside from the fact that there are many artists out there that are still representing the genre with a high-level of verbal venom. With "The New Noise" Scripts 'N Screwz now have their platform to show what they're made of.
You can tell that Scripts 'N Screwz are serious about the business aspect of hip-hop music with the image they convey on their cover art to the overall production quality, which is too often a downfall of hip-hop albums. Further, the two have put together a recent mixtape entitled "Sound Cinema" and have co-directed ("Borrowed Time) and acted in ("The Hunger") two different films. No matter what you say, the group intends to get their name out there--but the success of that relies heavily on the album as it is the music the perpetuates an artist into other realms of media. So, most importantly, how does "The New Noise" stack up?
The Scripts-produced "The New Noise" kicks off the album after an unnecessary instrumental introduction. The track is primarily driven by a distorted guitar backdrop that dissipates a bit when the two trade verses. Scripts starts it off with some pretty cool lines like "And I'm aiming for ya/You think I'm gonna miss?/ I'm a 'shooter' in the booth like Robin Thicke," that definitely keep your interest. Screwz, next, has a flow similar to Big Boi of Outkast and offers equally effective bars. It's a good introduction to a new group because it is the type of track that showcases their lyrical dexterity.
"Big City Lights" is more of a single-type of track complete with the soulful female hook; compliments of featured artist Shukee. In fact, SnS have shot a pretty cool video that mixes images of themselves with cartoon-like props which is well worth a viewing. "Help!" written and produced by Screwz is, in fact, an over-produced mess that never finds it's groove. Here, as opposed to songs like the title track previously mentioned, the vocals are completely overshadowed by the overbearing beat. It is at least nice to see them attempting to experiment and offer something different from the norm. "Brick," also produced by Screwz, uses similar instrumentals and distorted sound, yet works on a much higher level than "Help!," mainly because it is more rhythmic. This tends to be a problem on a couple more tracks along the way.
On "The War Outside" the duo explore the missteps of the Bush administration. They express the same sentiment of many typical Americans who found the war in Iraq to be a waste of taxpayers money and, more importantly, put our soldiers in unnecessary grave danger. This concept has been done a million times, however, it is good to get some variety in the messages offered in the tracks.
"Eastwood" offers an appropriately brooding beat. It is a personal favorite thanks to the superior chorus:
"The bullet exits the chamber
Drifts through the wind
And enters a stranger
A lost soul
More greif to carry
It's so cold
More bodies to bury"
Likening unnecessary gang violence to those Clint Eastwood westerns is a cool idea and the track works nicely.
Though ambitious, "The New Sound" by Scripts 'N Screwz is a sometimes mundane effort, as much as it tries to avoid that label. Both rappers offer a few witty rhymes here and there, and they collaborate to create a few interesting concepts. Still, neither of them stand out enough to be premiere emcees. It is a difficult task to self-produce and write something that listeners will refer to as the new sound--on that level, the duo do not break through.
Music Vibes: 5.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6 of 10
Originally posted: March 31, 2009