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RapReview Of The Week

[Honkey Kong] Apathy :: Honkey Kong
Demigodz Enterprises

Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon


It's probably a stretch to claim that Connecticut rap kingpin Chad Bromley b/k/a Apathy was inspired by Andrew Matson's review from 2006, but the title of his latest album does parallel something Matson said to describe the man nicely: "He's not an abstract rapper, form or content-wise, but offers technically flawless verses consistently delivered with the force of a guy who knows he's the shit. He's a mic ripper, a savage, a beast, an unstoppable force."

Hmm. A savage, a beast, AND an unstoppable force? That certainly sounds "Honkey Kong," matched on the album cover by a ferocious white gorilla that can only be described as Snowflake on a steroid bender. Actually the title matches two different pop culture concepts - the famous King Kong of motion picture fame, and the video game Donkey Kong, which arguably was inspired by that famous filmic icon (though the court system ultimately ruled Nintendo did not owe the owners of the King Kong rights a single dime). On the one hand the implication is that Apathy is a ferocious foe who will take your girl while simultaneously taking the rap game to new heights. On the other hand one can feel Ap' is an exploited ape, sold to a public which fears him, while his own feelings are misunderstood or ignored. Depending on his mood Apathy is happy to portray either side of this divide, using the opening title track to showcase his unbridled rage:

"Bring out the apes, the gorillas, the monkies and junkies
Half money, half bummy, half genius, half dummy
Dirty, slutty, bloody, muddy, filthy fuck buddy
If you stup-y you should study how I'm steady makin money
Like I'm Steady B, Freddy Krueger, bald as Lex Luthor
Spark buddha, pick a public park, become a sharpshooter
Chop an off duty cop up in the chop suey
channelin Tupac through me {*hach ptooey*} damn I'm such a Glock groupie
[...]
I'm Jesus, a genius, a G I'm a genie
Grantin bitches wishes if they wish is for my pee-pee
I'm greasy and greedy and creepy and freaky and skeevy
Your breezy will fuck me for a CD"

It probably doesn't hurt the violent mood of the song that Jedi Mind Tricks frontman Vinnie Paz provides the hook, or that producer Vanderslice offers an unapologetically harrowing musical backdrop. On the other end of the spectrum (and coincidentally the other end of the album) is Apathy's self-produced track "1:52 AM," in which he simultaneously portrays the role of a stalker, the stalker's victim, and the stalker's protective boyfriend. It's no exaggeration to say this is a tour de force for the rapper, giving us a believable insight into the inner mind of each of these characters, leading ultimately to a tragic turn of events when the stalker tries to break into his victim's home:

"It's 1.52 AM and I just got a text
from my girl all upset cause of her psycho ex
When I pull up to the house and notice the broken glass
I open up the front door and see this bright flash
Heard a loud blast, holy fuck I'm shot!
Looked down, see my stomach leakin and my body drops
Girl starts screamin, didn't know it was me
She had a gun her father gave her in case of emergencies
This other dude never even made it in
He broke the glass and she thought I was him
I'm passin out, can't believe I'm shot
I see his car pullin out the parking lot"

It can probably be understated how brilliant this song and its twist ending is, but I doubt it can be overstated. That's the kind of rapper Apathy is though. He's not content with being the great white hope for aspiring underground emcees, or the best caucasian on the mic not named Eminem that most people outside hip-hop heads don't know. Apathy might poke fun at his ethnicity, but he rolls with a crew of Demigodz of varying backgrounds, most notably and famously Celph Titled a/k/a The Rubix Cuban. Celph is a double threat as both a vicious punchline rapper and brilliant producer, but he actually turns over the latter role to DJ Premier on "Stop What Ya Doin" to do a duet with Ap that's a true treat, right down to the scratched in Humpty Hump samples:

Apathy: "I got an appetite for destruction, Ap is back
Murder beats, scare hoes, there's an app for that
Grab the battle axe Jack the X-Clan spit Cadillacs
(SISSY!) I'm a Garbage Pail kid doin the Cabbage Patch
Play chief, get shot with a straight arrow
You suckers imitate more rappers than Jay Pharoahe
Rockin gay apparel, them jeans'll make your sterile
I'm steady stockin that ammo and cockin a double barrel"

Celph: "Pirate mentality, teeth holdin the knife in place
Meet me on a rap tour and a raptor might bite ya face
And what would happen is you'll get shipped out in packages
Thank God I keep the meat tenderizer in my cabinet
But truthfully (what?) My vision varies
I go from a visionary to a vicious leader of killer militaries
Usin old machine guns - why? I need better gats
Diesel still burn holes in motherfuckers like a treasure map"

That's not the only collaboration track on "Honkey Kong" though. Slaine drops in on Ap's church organ beats for to leave lesser emcees "Holy Ghost." Fellow La Coka Nostra member Ill Bill takes his turn on a heavy Apathy beat for "The Villain," as both rappers question the true nature of evil. Stu Bangas takes over for the pounding beats of "The Recipe" and we get a surprise appearance from California legend Mr. X to the Z. Bet you never thought you'd hear an Apathy and Xzibit track - and bet you won't ever forget it once you do! It would actually take too long to list every single cameo, but a few more worth noting are Mad Lion, Steele (of Smif-N-Wessun fame), and Esoteric. Still as fun as all of these songs are, it's when Apathy does an entire song on his own like the Evidence produced "Check to Check" that his talents as a lyricist and a mic controller really shine:

"Rap money's bullshit, nothin like it used to be
I used to be used to G's, blew through them foolishly
And fuck a nine-to-five, I live life for rockin these mics
The only time I wake up early is for court dates and flights
I'm livin check-to-check, but I ain't talkin Nikes
I'm leakin money like BP with oil pipes
It's funny how it makes you feel like you ain't a man
Tryin to justify why you makin payment plans
I never made it cause I never tried to make you dance
I'm makin ends meet, while Diddy's makin bands
I wanna thank my fans, the ones who show respect
I'm like projects in Prague livin Czech to Czech"

It's only natural that skeptics are going to say "I beg to differ" and argue that this review of "Honkey Kong" is just riding Chad Bromley's johnson. My rebuttal would be that people should have been on the dick a long time ago, and it's honestly a little shocking Apathy hasn't received more critical acclaim. He's versatile enough in writing ability to cover any topic from somber to silly, he's clever enough to make what he has to say worth rewinding to catch, and he's not that bad behind the boards as a producer either. Matson was right to dub Apathy "a savage (and) a beast" and on "Honkey Kong" he's unleashing that rage into great hip-hop music.

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

Originally posted: August 2nd, 2011
source: www.RapReviews.com


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