Boiling Point Distribution has unleashed Maspyke onto the public, with their summer 2003 release, “The Blackout.” The dynamic duo that hails from the “killing fields” of Springfield, MA has a distinctive sound that is oft labeled as not “traditionally hardcore,” yet “not necessarily an alternative crew.” What are they then? A pair of subterranean hip-hop artists (Hanif “H-Bomb” Jamiyl and Tableek) blessed with melodic musicality in their production. This is courtesy of producer DJ Roddy Rod, whose aptitude as a cut chemist is astute and unique. H-Bomb describes him as “a pal of mine” who “scratches like he got a bad case of poison ivy, without the Calamine, lotion.” His “jazz-inflected beats” permeate this album, and make for some easy listening.

As an avid zealot of the art of hip-hop, one element I demand from first-rate music is that it should coerce me to cramp my neck muscles through prolonged head-nodding. I do not recall engaging in head-nodding throughout the entire listening period of this particular LP. Although the production is of a relatively high caliber, I found the sound and tonality to be repetitious and quite monotonous throughout. Songs with different subject matters and concepts riding the same bus-beat just didn’t do it for me. On “Fast Reasons” Tableek and H-Bomb warn young ladies of the lack of respect that some men exhibit. Attempts to dispel some myths about the Islamic faith are heard on “Lost in Belief.” However, these two tracks (along with the other fifteen) have music and instrumentation you could swear was “separated at birth.”

Lyrically, these cats do fare better than some artists found on the record store shelf. Peep Hanif’s verse on “Far East”:

“Test-test, allow me to express my iller self
Half trife, I live a half-life like ‘Illadelph’
A nigga melts if he imitates, Hanif Jamiyl, generate
Pure acid penetrate
I be the blood of a alien, it’s green and slimy
the ice grill mean and grimy
The brother behind me, he Darth Vader on the cross fader
He slice a record like a light saber…”

An amusing ditty with indictments against financially successful yet intellectually inferior rap artists is the slice “Niggaz Trip.” H-Bomb rips shit up again:

“I de-clare peace in the Middle East 
little kids dying over grease
fuck America, part of my speech is hard to preach 
to my people when ya suckin my dick, you’re like a leech
my life’s a beach, your life’s a bitch, wanna switch nigga?
You made a million but is your mind rich nigga?
I wish niggas would alleviate the word nigga, listen nigga
Here’s the definition of the word nigga
Ignorant, indecent, not equivalent
To a piece o’ lint, hint-hint
Now doesn’t that sound like you big dummy
But you don’t wanna hear it coz you ‘Get Money'”

These two MCs proclaim on “Transit – Overdrive” that they endeavor to have consistent quality with “twelve tracks or better.” On an LP totaling 18, I must say that this twosome just doesn’t quite make the grade they’ve set for themselves. As the eternal Phife Dawg once put it, “you get E for effort, and T for nice try!”

Maspyke :: The Blackout
6Overall Score