RapReviews.com readers were first introduced to Brad Strut on 2007’s “Legend Official.” At the time Justin ‘Tha Shiznute’ Chandler had this to say about the Australian MC: “If you absolutely cannot stand an accent when listening to emcees boast their rhymes you might want to stop reading now and not even consider giving Brad Strut a chance (but) it’d be your loss, because this album proves that Hip-Hop is a global community. […] Brad Strut and Unkut Recordings come through from the Melbourne way to deliver a solid effort.” As one who has always felt that good beats and rhymes are far more important than familiar accents, Brad Strut’s Aussie flows are all good with me. If anything the hip-hop scene of Australia has become something of a niche at RR, as we big up everybody from Muph & Plutonic to the Hilltop Hoods in our continuing coverage of the country, and we even get a shoutout from the readers of OZHipHop.com now and then. The credit goes entirely to the strength of the Australian scene and the passion of their hip-hop artists. They aren’t content to just go gold locally – they want to export their fresh worldwide.
Back to Brad Strut though – this package from Shogun Distribution was billed as a double album “Fallout Shelter” EP and a “Rejuvenation” LP, but only one disc was included. That’s all to the good though as the EP comprises the first 6 songs of the CD while the LP has the last 13. They also threw in some nice nuclear radiation stickers for the EP. When did American record labels get so cheap and stop throwing in stickers with their promo packages? Take a tip from your Australian counterparts. The beats on these two albums are appropriately big explosions, with atomic headnodding consequences when you throw it in the CD player of your choice. Let’s focus on the EP first. Strut’s project is a collaboration with UK producer Beat Butcha, best known for previously crafting soundscapes for Braintax and Jehst. At just over 20 minutes in length the EP runs by fast but not so fast it doesn’t make a lasting impression. “No!” has the brutal and deadly melody you’d expect from a track featuring Vinnie Paz or Non Phixion. “Blastin’ Em” rocks awkward piano keys pleasantly as Strut spits harrowing lyrics:
“Crank up the stereo, declare it the picture
It’s hardcore delirium, this shit’s off the Richter
Hand on the dynamite; cause if I’m goin
this is gonna be a firefight, motherfuckers ain’t wired right
They better know that I’m the last of them
Cause I ain’t never been a charlatan”
Things mellow out a little bit on the appropriately named “Believe,” which floats along on a soulful R&B sample landscape.
“My battle with wordplay, and every day life shit, some people don’t like it
The hate yeah it feeds me, it’s gettin me psyched up
And helpin me write stuff, I deal with it easily
I seem to be there now, I’m happy in my skin
And I didn’t like him, I wonder what y’all thought
I bounce like a full court, I’m doing the right thing
or at least yeah I’m trying to be peaceful I’m biting
my tongue to the end ‘tached, but this is a death rap
I’m high off this life shit, I’m runnin a tight ship
You suckers will bite this; I’m sure of it no doubt”
Strut slows down the tempo a bit on “The New Dawn,” appropriately named as it sounds like a mellow moment the day after Brad Strut’s bloody war on mediocrity. The EP is rounded off with “Looking at You,” a pleasant shuffle and clap which features Strut’s most poignant vocals of the whole set. The song and delivery are mellow but that’s not to be mistaken for weakness or Strut lacking in action, as he wisely coins the phrase “raw truth spoken in a hushed tone” to describe his song. Brad seems to have picked up right where “Legend Official” left off, but things don’t end there. “I’m back to get my fuckin’ props like you forgot about me” blasts Strut over the booming beats and heavy horns of the “Incite the Premises” remix by M-Phazes.
You guessed it – “Rejuvenation” features previous classics from the Brad Strut catalogue that get a whole new treatment and none suffer from the second look. Some songs change the lineup as “Automatic” doesn’t feature Sean Price on the Chemo Remix, but the track still wins thanks to Strut’s verbals; while others like “Terrordome” keep the collaboration with underground East coast rap crew Outerspace intact. If you already know Strut’s catalogue you’ll enjoy these new interpretations, and if you’re not you’ll definitely enjoy the heavy beats and rhymes of “Beast on the Mic” and harrowing Halloween-esque sound of “The Ritual” as remixed by Tornts. In conclusion Mr. Chandler would agree with me that this is another “solid effort” by Brad Strut, but far too few people outside the shores of Australia are aware of Brad Strut’s fresh beats and rhymes. “Fallout Shelter” brings the new while “Rejuvenation” makes everything old new again and combined together the effort is so solid it might as well be sold as concrete, so don’t sleep on this hard hip-hop effort.