'Symptomatic of A Greater Ill'
X-Ray's beats are head-nodding, bass heavy - elegant loops; scratched samples for choruses - this is hip-hop as producers like Jay Dilla, Premier and D.I.T.C. imagined it. Jazz horn refrains add melody and atmosphere to the ghostly cuts. MC Kevroc's exposition of the contradictions and complexities of hip-hop are literate and insightful, discontented: "You brag of Maximas and Accuras to carry you to heaven..." He sees rappers like pharaohs, buried with their gold. He makes pronouncements like "Realism's a gas," that make you stop and think about the all-important hip-hop concept of 'realness.' His voice is astounding. Deeper than Charlie 2Na, Jeru, and Guru put together, Kevroc knows how to use it, starting lines high and descending for emphasis with perfect breath control, lyrics intricately spun. Speculate elsewhere on the timeliness of this release, and weather it fits with Anticon's roster - they don't make 'em like this anymore. A lost classic, resurfacing at just the right time. [Bram Gieben]
Out October 6
File Next To: KRS One, Jeru Tha Damaja, Gang Starr, Nas - 'Illmatic'