While 2004 saw Lil Jon emerge as the King of Crunk and Kanye West make soul-sampling his signature sound, Necro has gained a reputation under the radar as the monarch of horrorcore rap. Arguably hip-hop’s hardest-working producer, he laced every cut from the artists on his Psycho Logical Records imprint: Sabac’s Sabacalypse, Goretex’s The Art of Dying, Mr. Hyde’s Barn of the Naked Dead, and Ill Bill’s What’s Wrong With Bill?; each of the releases provided some of the year’s premier hardcore rap. Necro’s fourth solo effort, The Pre-Fix For Death, features Necro continuing his reign, showing that he still packs just as much muscle individually as he does with his labelmates.
From the opening notes of the album, it’s evident that Necro isn’t letting up behind the boards. With his use of daunting piano keys, pounding organs on tracks like “Kill That Shit” or “The Dispensation Of Life And Death,” he confirms the validity of his quote, “you can tell I’m satanic from my evil beat selection” (from the aforementioned “Beautiful Music For You To Die To”), as he consistently hits the listener with abrasive, bloodcurdling instrumentals. His beats also serve as capable foils to collaborating emcees, as seen on “Nirvana,” a superior hardcore down-the-line joint that features Ill Bill, Goretex, and Mr. Hyde all spitting their best over Necro’s brass horns and thumping drums.
Necro also makes use of death metal experimentation on the disc, complete with features from some of the genre’s A-list players. Unlike other rap albums that aspire for experimentation but end up being more odd than groundbreaking – see Common’s Electric Circus – Necro’s alliances seamlessly mesh with the style he’s already established. “Push It To The Limit” features a consonant marriage of his own majestic horn and a hook from Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta, and “Empowered” serves as a death metal posse cut, with guest spots by Sid Wilson, Trevor Peres and John Tardy, Away, and Dan Lilkner, members of bands Slipknot, Obituary, Volvod, and Nuclear Assault, respectively. Since death metal is a niche market, these collaborations are mostly hit and miss.
His lyrics are in a similar situation. Since Necro’s verses are saturated with tributes to satanic ideals and blood-dripping imagery, many listeners will dismiss him as a run-of-the-mill shock value rapper. A closer listen reveals a nifty, punchline-capable MC with conceptual competence: “86 Measures Of Game” features him proficiently (albeit disturbingly) speaking on his views of the opposite sex, and he goes into autobiographical mode on “Reflection of Children Coming Up.” “Human Consumption” is self-explanatory, while “You Did It” has him giving an incredibly adept account of the suicidal psyche. Still, all of his conceptual gems, along with the horror movie samples employed in the disc’s skits, fit in with the overall theme of death; he keeps things interesting by changing concepts, but he still stays consistent by doing what he’s good at.
With The Pre-Fix To Death, Necro tops off a year of underground domination behind the scenes with a return to the spotlight. If 2004 is any indication of his work to come, he’ll soon ascend from being the most slept-on producer to one of the most sought-after ones.
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