In order for a rapper do stand out from the crowd, he needs to assume an identity. Simply rhyming well isn't enough to succeed, when hundreds, even thousands, can rap just as well. It's the identity of a rap artist that sets him apart. The Krakan does this in a way that seems counterintuitive – he seems to lack any identity. Setting himself as a mysterious figure, he tries to carve a niche outside of the general rap world, in an unknown category where only he exists.
The problem with this is that many times, this lack of a concrete personality seems to infect "Dawn of the Krakan" as well. The biggest flaw of the album is that there's nothing here that stands out. None of it is bad or unpleasant, but none of it is particularly striking. Especially in the production, it lacks any real soul, anything that would indicate that somebody is staking their career on this output.
That's not to say that it doesn't have its strengths, just that those strengths are muted. The Krakan, for his part is a good enough lyricist. But he as well seems almost subdued, with a delivery resembling DMX with no emotion (which seems like a contradiction in and of itself). What's sad is that this is something he obviously put effort into – songs like "Last Upheaval" carry an obvious personal significance, but they fail to make an impact on the listener because he just doesn't have a good mic presence. Even worse, some of his attempts to come off foreboding just come off goofy, with him trying too hard (ex: "Lead").
But the Krakan's flaws could be overlooked if the production was even passable. "Dawn of the Krakan would be better if it was delivered A Capella. The beats attempt to establish a dark, cinematic feel, and fail entirely. The album's sound is more boring than anything else. And between this and the Krakan's lack of a dominating presence, the album wears thin extremely quickly. The only points on the album are those with passable hooks, as seen on "Sanctuary" and "The Resonance carries." The former is a story of conflicted love, featuring a sung hook that is somehow haunting and endearing at the same time. It's the only moment where the vision for what "Dawn of the Krakan" should have been becomes somewhat clear.
It's agonizing to listen to a good rapper make a bad album, but that's exactly what's happened here. With a bigger budget, the Krakan could probably afford to get some better beats, which would immediately improve the quality of his music, injecting some much needed personality. Since this isn't what happened here, the Krakan is left to fend for himself, and while he's better than decent, he doesn't have enough force of personality to make it work.
Music Vibes: 3 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 4.5 of 10
Originally posted: November 6, 2007