Self Scientific (Chase Infinite & DJ Khalil) emerged from Cali’s underground scene in 1998 with “Return”, a celebratory ode, which lauded hip-hop’s humbler beginnings— “return to the way we were, before the influx of drugs and money occurred.” The LA based duo’s debut, Self-Science, offers more of that romanticism, as it is an intriguing mixture of old, and new school philosophy’s .
Like so many of the great left coast underground collectives, Self-Scientific’s musical platform emanates with a discernible East Coast vibe. Though it’s evident both members were weaned during hip-hop’s most progressive stage (early 90′s), Self-Science is a mixed collective of that glorious period. That duality is most prevalent in Chance Infinite’s cannoned voiced inflections. While Infinite’s Islamic beliefs and self-mastering ideologies play a major role in the LP’s theme (“Love Allah” feat. Krondon), (“The Covenant”) and (“The Self Science”). Tracks like the analytical “Anguish” and the Illuminati based “Dead Honest” portray a simple man who is not out to save the world, but survive it—” “why should I give a fuck in a world, that don’t give a fuck about you.” While the knowledge Infinite drops is refreshing, the righteous messages he conveys frequently clashes with the unflattering portrait he depicts of woman on the bland “You Can’t Fall”, and “Best Part” where Infinite passes on the swine, but advocates sexual promiscuity.
While emcees have long-overshadowed the DJ, Self-Scientific is an exception to that rule. Serving as the group’s backbone, DJ Khalil delivers a plethora of diverse aural selections; ranging from the plush violins, and subtle string backdrop of “The Covenant”, too the spine-tingling DJ Premier-esque instrumental, “Opus”, which is augmented by a melodious acoustic guitar sample, and angelic chanting. Though Khalil’s wonderfully melodic presentations give an obvious nod to super-producers like Primo (precise placing of cut-up vocal snippets), Jay Dee (stark minimalism) and Pete Rock (“Return” sounds like a lost cut from PR’s Main Ingredient heyday). However, comparisons to the aforementioned are strictly that, as Khalil’s lavish boardwork retains its own individual flair, as he does not burrow, merely revamp.
Self-Scientific delivers an impressive debut. And the duo proves with Self-Science that they are capable of exhibiting the same ying and yang chemistry that lead many to compare up-and coming combos like Encore & Architect to a young Gang Starr. Yet, similar too fellow West Coast cohorts, Dilated Peoples, Self-Science, is highlighted largely by the groups earlier material, as their latest studio-benders fail to resonate like the end to end burners (“Return”) contained in their previously released 12″ catalog.
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