For every hot album Canibus detonates upon his fanbase there are one or two total duds. I don’t think Canibus has spit a single lyric since his 2005 release “Hip-Hop for $ale” that inspired, or energized me (although “Dreamzzzzz” off of “For Whom the Beat Tolls” is a sick track). I saw him perform live at Toad’s Place in New Haven earlier this year, and although he tore it down I couldn’t shake the realization that a man I idolized six years ago is only a shadow of his former self these days. He seemed mortal for the first time. Even though we’re probably the same height he seemed small, ashy and docile. I looked at him not through the eyes of a huge fan, but as a fellow rap artist unsure as to whether or not I should humbly pay my respects or walk up to him with my game face on, stare into his eyes and start spitting my sickest bars at him and demand his respect.
I hadn’t really been checking for new Canibus material because as soon as I heard he was doing a Sharpshootaz album with that AWFUL Sun cat that ruined the would’ve been classic “Liquid Wordz” on his last album, I forced myself into adopting an “I don’t want to know” policy on his new releases. However when I heard of his upcoming album “Melatonin Magik” through War Lab mastermind DZK, I decided to climb back into the rabbit hole. I had never knowingly listened to a Keith Murray verse until I popped this EP into my head unit and took it out for a spin, so whatever legacy he’s cemented is lost on me. It becomes immediately clear that at least in my opinion I don’t appear to have been missing much. The guy’s reviews on this site are even more sporadic than Canibus’, and lyrically he’s only a step or two above Phoenix Orion, the guy who weighed down what would’ve been an excellent Canibus album (“Def Con Zero”) had he not been on it. He has a decent flow, but other than that he does nothing for me, he’s one small step above K-Solo.
A lot of people tend to take issue with Canibus’ production, but increasingly over the past few years he’s been working with much better producers than he was in the early 2000’s. My question is WHY THE FUCK can’t Canibus collaborate with GOOD RAPPERS ALL THE TIME?!. For every Killah Priest, Kool G Rap, Vinnie Paz, Crooked I, or Young Zee we are forced to endure dogshit verses from Sun, K-Solo, Pak Man, Phoenix Orion, Hamza, DMP, Star Awon, The Infa Diamond, Louis Lombard III, and believe it or not Shaq. The man that at my age 11 years ago stood toe to toe with LL Cool J and spat directly in his face is collaborating with fuckin’ Shaq. Maybe Shaq is just too ill for me to comprehend though because he’s also done a song with 311, my favorite GROUP. Who knows.
The seven songs on this EP are neither wack or impressive. They’re just ‘eh’. I’m apathetic about them because the songs seem like they’re apathetic themselves. Canibus is an oil that requires a flame, and he makes Keith Murray seem like ordinary, boring water. It’s not a good mix. The best moments on the entire EP come in the blistering verse provided by Crooked I on “Show N Prove.” The track has a slick beat, bangs in the trunk and succeeds in being atleast mildly catchy. The rest of the tracks? I don’t know, I’m bipolar or something because I’m morbidly disappointed with Canibus’ showing. I know that if there was just ONE sick bar that caught me at the right moment I could rethink my resentment towards this EP, and maybe, just maybe enjoy it later on. Maybe months from now I’ll read this review and be embarassed by the fact I dogged on something awesome. I just don’t think it’s going to happen, though. I hope that the full length album reveals this digital EP to be nothing more than a warm-up because this project seems like nothing more than two rappers that sound good together on paper rapping shit that only sounds good on paper. Only diehards will find the “Undergods EP” worth their paper.