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by Andreas Hale
2 December, 2006@12:00 am
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   Chicago has become the quintessential breeding ground for Hip-Hop. It has taken every musical element from every coast and crafted its own niche in this culture. The Molemen (Panik and Memo) are a production team that can be considered as a part of the elder statesmen within this movement brewing. They embody the windy city and even though they haven’t gotten the recognition of a Kanye West or a Lupe Fiasco, The Molemen due command the respect of many in the industry. Because of that, The Killing Fields, is birthed. A compilation album comprised of Chi-town’s finest with a dash of out of towners brought together to prove a point. And that point is that The Molemen are better than your favorite set of producers. Can they prove it?

    The Killing Fields packs the impact similar to your house being firebombed. It comes from everywhere and when life is breathed into it the production expands and engulfs you.  Each production is created in a manner that remains true to The Molemen sound, but takes upon the characteristics of the artists onboard. “Street Conflict” bobs and weaves as Cormega, Hostyle and KL wrap their words around the daunting keys and slapping drums. Mega shines on his verse and almost begs of seeing a future of Molemen production.  Slug and Murs layer “My Alien Girlfriend?” with their usual clever storytelling and imagery, but the production provided gives their lyrics even more life than some of the work on their previous endeavors.

    There are some instances on the album where it just explodes with brilliance. Brother Ali’s “Life Sentence” is downright scary, as Ali swings with the impact of Tyson in his prime. It begins to make you wonder just how long before the industry takes notice. Saigon also brings ridiculous fire to the table with “2 Hour Banger” and gives a firm class in Shit Talking 101 as he closes the album out saying “I’m a real criminal, I’ll shoot any one of y’all rap niggas.”  Tough talk that translates into a dope track. The album close out with one of Chicago’s very own superlyricists without a major deal, Vakill, on “V”. Once again, Vakill rapid fire flow is chock full of quotables and manifests himself into a lyrical beast that can’t go under the radar any longer.

      With so much greatness, of course there are going to be songs that can’t keep up. Grafh’s “Blackhand Clap” feels just a little G-Unit-ish while Juice’s “The Come Up” comes up a tad lazy standing alongside the rest of the album. Nonetheless, The Killing Fields proves to be the exclamation point that is needed in the underground. It’s just a matter of time before everyone else takes notice. 

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