A long time ago in a rap galaxy not-so-far away the Analog Brothers emerged into the digital world as a rap supergroup consisting of Kool Keith, Ice-T, Marc Live, Silver Synth, Kiew Kurzweil and Rex Roland JX3P. Even the members of the group would agree that interest in their “Pimp to Eat” album was a direct result of the first two participants. Keith was viewed as the architect given his penchant for prolific and unpredictable releases, and by the year 2000 Ice-T was better known for his acting than his rapping. Shortly after the album’s release he’d become a permanent member of the Law & Order: SVU cast as detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola, permanently changing his career trajectory. He’s only released four solo albums in the last quarter century as a result. I assumed the rest of the group were “other friends of Kool Keith” and it’s fair to say most people did the same.

Over a decade Silver Synth brought back a version of that formula with his solo album “Slang Banging (Return to Analog).” Ice-T was not a participant owing either to his acting career or lack of interest, but either way the focus moved away from Ice and Keith to Mr. Synth, a decision I felt was for the best. In fact on a track featuring both Keith and Synth I wrote that “Synth shows Keith up [with] verses on the song [that] are tightly constructed and delivered with clear diction while Keith just rambles and mutters.” Maybe it was for that reason that Black Silver f/k/a Silver Synth reached out to RapReviews to let us know he was still in the game with “Forbidden Slanguage.” It’s fair to be surprised by that fact. We’re talking about nearly a quarter century span between his debut and this latest project.

“I’m just tumbling verbs, you know, juggling words
Making galactic worthy music like I’m crumbling herb”

If you enjoyed Silver Synth in the past I’ve got good news — you’re in for more of the same from Black Silver here. He’s as serious as Xzibit without the distinctive growl of Mr. X to the Z, but his vocal tone has the same ability to cut through an instrumental with precision. Tracks like the DJ Obi produced “Deafening Silence” keep things thumping with a strong beat, an eerie singer, and a dope Rakim sample (“hit ’em at point blank range and watch ’em radiate”) but don’t take away from Silver’s forceful bars. “You need more than a fire starter fucker to match me.” Pronouncements like “y’all can bury that dumb shit now” seem directly aimed at today’s AutoTune singing emcees. Could you blame him?

In fact Silver almost sounds like a throwback here — bringing a battle rap mentality to an era where rappers stopped trying to be the best on the mic. “You lose black, your crew’s whack, singing the blues with black-and-blues, your ass get no pass, go straight to jail, you fail.” It shouldn’t be nearly so enticing to hear someone rap with this energy. It used to be the norm. In fact a perfect example of that mentality can be found on “Let’s Get It” featuring Ras Kass and Tash, two emcees who have been around just as long who can’t grip a mic without giving it 110%. Tash still has those killer punchlines and he cracked me when he said “I stopped drinking… WATER, I’m going through withdrawal.”

That’s far from the only guest appearance. In fact it’s not even the only one for Ras Kass as he can also be heard on “Calligraphy” alongside Epochs. I don’t think that Johnny Pate sample from “The Look of Love” has been used often enough in rap. Heltah Skeltah flipped it, Pete Rock and Lord Finesse used it for remixes, but it’s too dope not to be brought back more often.

And in a collaboration almost as unlikely as the original Analog Brothers themselves, Cali rap legends Kurupt and Spice 1 join Black Silver for the song “Moon Rocks (OG).” If the song’s title confuses you it’s simply a new metaphor for how high you can get on some really good hydro.

Clocking in at 43 minutes and featuring production from the likes of E Swift (good to see another Alkaholik in the mix) and E Skillz, “Forbidden Slanguage” is pleasantly out of step with today’s rap scene in both length and tone. There’s a very small chance you might tire of Black Silver’s forceful delivery by the end of the album, but I think it’s far more likely you’ll enjoy an emcee who isn’t sleepwalking and/or singing his way through an “album” under a half hour long. The mix of guests and producers not only enhance his presentation but his reputation, moving him further out of the “friends of Kool Keith” sphere (noticeably absent here) and into a world all his own. Check this one out.

Black Silver :: Forbidden Slanguage
7.5Overall Score