Brooklyn’s Non-Phixion has been putting it down on the 12-inch vinyl set for a minute now, over the last few years teasing us with a number of classic underground singles, such as “5 Boros”, “I Shot Reagan”, and “Black Helicopters”. Backed by the production of then up-&-coming emcee/producer, Necro, (who happens to be Ill Bill’s brother), not to mention being executive produced by 3rd Bass’ MC Serch, the crew quickly gained a fanbase, from humble beginnings with Serchlite Music, and then a brief stint on indy rock-label Matador. While The Arsonists were putting it down as the Matador’s only other hip-hop act, Non-Phixion bounced from the label, delaying their long-awaited album over a year, to see it independently released through their own Uncle Howie Records. More than a strong five years of building their rep up on the indy scene, Non-Phixion finally delivers their long-awaited debut album, the aptly titled, The Future Is Now.
Ironically enough, like one Nasir Jones, MC Serch also discovered these guys, and fittingly enough, they enlist many of the same producers that helped make Illmatic a classic. DJ Premier chimes in on with another classic track on “Rock Stars”, while Large Professor delivers theme songs “Drug Music”, “It’s Us”, and “We Are The Future”. Pete Rock also shows up for “If You Got Love”, a somewhat introspective moment working as a good contrast to the overall paranoia found on Necro produced bangers such as “There Is No Future”, “The CIA Is Trying To Kill Me” and “Black Helicopters”.
These kinds of closeted fears and conspiracy theories work as the album’s main theme, kidnapping the listener and delivering them to Non-Phixion’s strange universe governed by the illuminati and the new world order. While it can be argued that we are already there, some of the album’s best tracks surround today’s social commentary, such as the post Sept. 11 New-Yorker perspectives found on “Suicide Bomb” (feat. The Beatnuts), or Dave 1′s incredible ill flip on Public Enemy’s “By The Time I Get To Arizona”, on “Cult Leader”. In a way, it’s the closest thing to political hardcore hip-hop since KRS-ONE’s Return Of The Boom Bap.
All in all, The Future Is Now is actually a return to the past, as Non-Phixion resurrects the dying hardcore hip-hop scene that Brooklyn has established throughout its history with acts like Black Moon and M.O.P. These days, despite a few acts, hip-hop is no longer a hardcore artform, but instead a circus of two extremes: slickly produced jiggy gangsters or reformed twenty-somethings trying to channel the five-boro experience into their middle-American bedrooms. But for a group who’s name is a synonym for “real”, despite the cliches that go along with the term, Non-Phixion brings it back to the period when being real was hip-hop’s main concern. With a strong album on their hands, maybe that concern will manifest again, in the future.
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