Much more impressive than the musical content on this debut release from this Atlanta-based, California-raised duo, is the depth in which their title and name derivatives define their hip-hop space. It’s critical to be aware of them before you allow yourself to be moved by this CD. Whether or not you’re swept off your feet, it’s not going to damage the group’s self-confidence or high-esteem about themselves, thus their name: Micranots (negates smallness). Pretty self-explanatory right? Wait ’til you attempt at figuring out the album’s title, a task very much like deciphering the lyrics emcee I Self Devine uses over the production from his partner, DJ Kool Akiem.
You may have remembered lead singles “Pitch Black Ark” b/w “Exodus” alongside the fifteen or so additional songs on the album. Listening to the tracks that DJ Kool Akiem produces scares you away from the lyrical content of what I Self Devine might be attempting to explain. In some cases, you’re better off supporting the beats of your unsigned next-door neighbor basement productions. This shouldn’t surprise you if you’re familiar with the above mentioned singles from 2000. Unfortunately, there’s more unsophisticated use of the MPC-3000 on “Preparations”, “Balance” and “Sun Salutations,” plus more burdensome stiffly sampled sound-textures and tasteless loops from absolutely the wrong crate of records, as evidenced by “Culture” and “The Willie Lynch”. If musically or melodically they try to achieve anything, it’s ironically on the lounge-felt instrumental “Monuments”, and “Queen Supreme” leaving endings for the swift moving scratches of Kool Akiem to devour. Lyrically, “Illegal Busyness” is worth bumping from start to finish, as I Self Devine exposes a roll call of America’s drugs, touching on names of substances you are guaranteed to fail at properly pronouncing. The driving choppy groove glazed with pieces of horns stomping alongside the beat carries this song into a higher realm over the other poor offerings. Speaking of that higher level, add “Mother’s Day” into your shopping cart for enjoyment. His ode to his own, Devine masterfully pours his heart onto this track, making sure every emotion and thoughtful praise is transmitted correctly, for mother’s sake.
So what’s that album title mean then? Well, Micranots not only expose on every track, the fact that hip-hop culture is dying, a reflection of the similar historical trends where Europeans stole African art from ancient Egypt, thus the Obelisk reference. But conveniently, Micronots create a double meaning: the turntable’s needle has the symbolic shape of an inverted obelisk and by its movement, of course triggered by the spinning of the record beneath, you should be compelled to feel their sound vibrations. Are you with me? Ok, supposedly you got through all that depth of their meanings; simply appreciating the record is even more difficult. In a nutshell, few tracks move you and that’s because of the absence of soul, probably stolen from right within their studio.
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