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Mental Combat 920

Author: Blaze
Friday, 8 August 2008
Correct spelling would never come under the governance of most hip hop related aspects, so it comes as no surprise that the San Diego crew Randam Luck confound the reader with their poor syntax on the cover of the debut album Conspiracy Of Silence (BabyGrande/Shogun). With the Illuminati type imagery on the cover and the album title’s allegation, I could already sense some Jedi mind-tricks type music might jump out the speakers, but what I wasn’t expecting were some appearances from the famed crew themselves. Vinnie Paz himself appears on Raw, while Non-Phixion members Sabac Red comes in on Fight For Freedom and Ill Bill drops his vocals on Verbal Holocaust. So if you know those dudes then you can already guess the rest. Musically Randam Luck are into dark menacing beats, brooding basslines, dominating violins and plenty of minor chords. Lyrically they run through the usual topics of hard rocking, running around the streets, secret societies, shady governments. You know the deal. Been there, done that. Also sounds like Kool G Rap phoned in his verse for Hood Scriptures for it’s just an okay verse from someone of his stature. Overall it’s one for the fans of dark underground hip hop who like the grimy sound, but when they drop lines like ‘we kamikaze like Chinamen’ on the track In the Streets I can’t help but giggle at their ignorance and think they might not be that educated in what they’re talking about. 6-8 years ago when this sound was really coming to the fore it might have been more interesting, but now I found it somewhat played out. Or they just didn’t bring anything new to the style so I was left wanting.

A few months ago Thes One’s label TRES Records dropped an album by a duo that went under the clumsy moniker of Collect Respect Anna Check aka C.R.A.C. Yep, crap name, but are they crap- Well, not really. They are definitely on some other shit. They being Detroit’s Ta’Raach and L.A’s Blu. Yes, the partner of Exile and a visitor to our shores this month. Well anyway, with the introductions out of the way let’s get down to business. Their album The Piece Talks (distro Shogun) is a quirky new school experiment that is at least satisfying in its adventurous spirit. There’s nothing really conventional going on here. The musical styles are all over the shop, but in a very creative way that keeps the listener somewhat entertained. They certainly sound like they are having a heap of fun and the enthusiasm flows out the speakers in a sometimes confusing way. If I were to recreate it as a recipe I’d add a dollop of Outkast, a slice of Madlib, a squirt of Dilla, some early De La Soul and then I’d mix in some seasoning from the likes of Ultramagnetic for that unidentifiable flavour. It’s a bit wild and crazy, but at least it isn’t just your run of the mill 3:30min boom bap rap shit done averagely. It’s sounds kinda raw and apparently it was a weeklong recording effort. The almost pointless track Cotton slams the most likely probable listener base. Point taken, but are the targets that real a problem that they need to be called out. Sounds like an insecurity on their side. Instead of attacking the soft cock MP3 listeners they should man up and go for the hard rocks fucking up the actual music. Ta’Raach is responsible for the beats, while he and Blu do the rappity raps and they are as creative and worthwhile as expected. Might be one of those albums that will split the audience. At the moment I’m liking it, next week… maybe not. It’s like that.

Ain’t technology grand. Nowadays you can purchase USB sticks with collections of mixtape files, create beats on Apple’s iPhones with Intua’s Beatmaker and even use one iPod as the music source for Numark’s iDJ2 mixing deck. Even GZA’s forthcoming album is entitled Pro Tools. A reference to the high-end mixing program that many eschewed the MPC for making tracks. With all this technology is it hindering or helping- It’s probably the same as it was 20 years ago, but in the end less is always more. If just a solo singer with a guitar can move people, then why do we need all sorts of advanced techno fangled machinery to make music-
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