Swollen Members want you to know that this isn’t a real album. No, seriously. The crew put together an album of B-sides and unreleased songs for their fans to enjoy.
The album opens up with the very electronica sounding “Steppin’ Thru”, a song that blurs the boarders of Hip Hop. Prevail takes the opportunity to display absurd lyricism, “Live in effect to such, graze the edge of the metal/Raise taste, game face, first place, the rebel/In the cage with the lions, engage with the giants Stars with temper/Red October/Prev the Cobra/I coil the sunset/coiled my drum set/ Spitting grease out my grill/ya’ll I’m Formula One/Crack a hole in your helmet, your bucket, your pail/Moka, Mad Child, Kemo, Prevail”
The click then hits fans over the head with “Breath”, featuring pop songstress Nelly Furtado. Furtado actually comes off well over the synth heavy cut. Swollen Members step up their game on “Fuel Injected (Remix)”. With the added soul of Saukrates, the crew’s melodic hook and chemistry draws comparison to the likes of Outkast.
Unfortunately Swollen Members takes it a little too far on the robotic “Battle Axe Exclusive”, a sinister break will might make some heads press fast forward. The group recovers on “Heavy Thinkers”, a return to of the boom-bap of sorts. Although it’s produced by Evidence, and the whole group brings it– DJ Revolution steals any shine with his Premier-esque cuts and scratches. Meanwhile, the wonderfully frightening “English Breakfast” is a successful combination of dark rhymes and haunting production. DJ Vadim’s back drop creeps up and down the track while the group spits hot fire. The melodic “Bring It Home” will keep heads in hypnosis, especially with their rapid fire delivery, “Stay low to the ground/So I can keep my balance/the element of surprise/the advantage of silence.” Crafted by Zodak, “Zenith” goes beyond experimental to the point of no return. The playful bass line laced with a bubbly backdrop, pushes the envelope, making the beat too busy to even digest. The playfully soulful “Members Only” and the bone chilling “Act On It” are both bangers. Other highlights include the introspective “Long Way Down”, which features emotional underlying key strokes, along with Swollen’s perfect rhythm over the beat.
Monsters In The Closet is heavy with stellar production and intricate lyrics. However, as intricate as the lyrics are, they seem written just because they ‘sound’ good. At times Swollen Members’ erses lack concept, no matter how creative the bars may seem. Let it be known, the sonic voyage on the first half of the album may cause Hip-Hoppers of old some queasiness. Don’t get it twisted-by and large, Monsters In The Closet is a great album, with just a few digestible errors. But hey, it’s not a real album in the first place. No seriously!
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