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1 January, 2002@12:00 am

As the first solo act to emerge from the Weightless Recordings stable, Illogic  steps up with his second disc, Got Lyrics, and puts his flag down in the state of Hip-Hop. With many having slept on the first disc, judging a book by its cover (only a plain white background with the words Illogic -Unforeseen Shadows printed on it), Got Lyrics works as his official introduction, accompanied by producer Blueprint (who we’ll also being hearing a lot from when his collaborative project with RJD2 drops on Rhyme Sayers Ent. later this year).

It’s easy to paint this disc up as heavy-handed nerd rap - you know, the “I’m the rapper and I’m smarter than you” shit. And it is that. But out of all of it, from Anticon to Aesop Rock (who actually gave Ill his proper introduction on Labor Days), Illogic remains one of the top emcees in his class. Maybe it’s the fact that Blueprint’s beats are raw, straight-up hip-hop, (unlike others in his class), and he treats them that way. The question the album’s title asks may seem generic in the age of catch phrase t-shirts and bumper stickers, but it lives up to the hype, as Illogic really does “Got Lyrics”.

From the duck-walking title track, Illogic immediately grabs the listeners attention spitting intelligent battle raps, filling in his own blanks in stereo, only to be complimented by Blueprint’s “everything is satisfaction” breakdown, before egging him on to come widdit once more. The duo also works well together on “The Name Game”, where Illogic spits the names of several Midwestern emcees into his rhyme, over Blueprint’s brilliant heavy bass stabs and funky sirens of Biz Markie, creating order out of chaos with saluting horns that would make El-P proud. The same type of emcee / producer camaraderie is also found on “Too Many Times”, where Illogic again defies wit and wisdom with cleverly penned rhymes, easy enough to grasp, but smart enough to dissect, only to be begged by Blueprint’s sample to “have mercy”, after each verse.

From start to finish, Illogic and Blueprint’s Got Lyrics is one of the new year’s best releases, and certainly a perfect starting point for those wishing to take a step up to hip-hop’s next level (smart rap). It’s not too pretentious, and he’s a great lyricist that packs the confidence and sarcasm of someone like Evidence, with the heavier lyrics of an emcee like Aesop Rock. But what brings it down to earth are the beats with Blueprint, keeping it grounded in the world of hip-hop, so we slightly unpretentious heads can enjoy it too. Dope.

  Mixtape D.L.
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