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12 January, 2005@12:00 am

     Building on the sturdy foundation he laid with his first two thoughtful albums, Squints and The Fifth Sun, Offwhyte returns with his new mini-album, Bow To Sceptor–an extremely brief collection of well-written tracks, saturated with gloomy backdrops from a variety of producers. Not that Offwhyte was ever the quintessential cheery MC, but you could say this EP is a sign of the times: clouded and uncertain of what’s to come.   

     Aside from the dramatic, Meaty Ogre-produced opening cut, “Kept”, the mood of this EP remains bleak throughout. Take the dark title cut, “Bow To The Sceptor”, which utilizes an eerie snake charmer-like melody as Offwhyte provides a brutally honest wake-up call for all of us living in times of war. Loaded lines like, “There is no emancipation coming for those who don’t live the cult of war” are sure to get people contemplating our government’s elitist attitude. And cuts like “Kid is Raw” and “On Purpose” see this Galapagos4 rep declare he and his crews’ significance in hip-hop with just as much direction. While doing so he aptly raises awareness to his dedication to hip-hop and rocking the mic, albeit alongside some rather bleak production.

     Through this EP, Offwhyte offers hip-hop to stimulate awareness and self-confidence in times of strife. As he raps on “On Purpose”, “People, let’s coagulate and save our fate”. While his lyrics are on point as ever, it’s hard not to imagine what these smart, bravado-heavy songs like “Kid Is Raw” would have sounded like over more bouncy production. Not to take away from the beats featured here, but the core of this EP may be too dismal for some. Thankfully, Offwhyte aptly closes this mini-album out with the climactic instrumental of “Kept”, rapping things up nicely. Those who don’t mind a lack of quantity (only five songs and two instrumentals) and who dig gloomy yet forthright hip-hop will find Bow To The Sceptor to be a worthwhile effort.

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