us on Twitter for updates as they happen and sarcastic commentary.
us on Facebook for updates in your feed, special offers, and more.
if you're one of "those" people.
our mailing list. It's so wizard.
12 January, 2007@12:00 am

   Of course, the key question is how this record ended up on Anticon in the first place. The label’s most “standard” hip-hop release to this point might just be Deep Puddle’s The Taste of Rain…Why Kneel. You remember that record? Dose One rapped about being a candle, while Slug rapped about being a candle, and all the while Sole rapped about being a candle, etc. The quick, lawyerless story is that Loud Records died, Darc Mind’s contract went with, Symptomatic of a Great Ill was shelved for ten years, and Sole and his associates proved that yes, despite what the Notwist associations might have you think, dudes really did get their start performing Black Moon songs at junior high talent shows. That particular feel is obviously still something they hold quite dearly, and if they continue to express their nostalgia by reissuing lost gems from the mid-nineties then we’ll all be better for it.


Throughout Symptomatic, Kevroc channels everything you loved about the last round of break-based hip hop. Not all of the drums flaunt static fills, but on “Knight of the Roundtable” the “9th Wonder” break is played at fast-rap speed and Kevroc staccatos so many puns and run-ons around a half-time jazz piano that you expect Pharoahe Monch to shout out Paul C at the end. On “I’m Ill” he spits smart,  structured battle rhymes (“read me carefully / use me only as directed / and press apply firmly to all areas affected”) and weaves in and out of a series of impressive tongue twisters intended to piss of transcribing reviewers. On “Covert Op”, Diamond D’s signature spaghetti-western strings enhance the paranoia while Kevroc runs through a day in the life of MC Kiefer Sutherland, ending each line with quadruple-doubles. He’s the type of MC that makes you “invent” technical terms to describe rhyme patterns.


    “Outside Looking In” is a particular standout with its filtered music-box and Wild Cowboys-lifted xylophone, but the biggest treat on the record is “BMOC”, which chucks a rollerskating guitar and paralleled bass-line to the rear of the mix while rolling drum fills and a massive, unrelenting synth smother the front. Kevroc channels Brother J and Wise Intelligent, waxes righteous and laments “the mystery / the Beautiful Man Of Color.” Even in 1996 this kind of focus would have been a seven-year throwback, but Darc Mind hide nothing, splicing Chuck D cuts into the hook to bring attention to that very point.


   It’s unlikely that this record would have been in anyone’s top ten, had it been released in ’95 or ’96, as intended. It probably would have been a dark horse pick, chosen by the kids who can recite Extinction Agenda backwards and forewards, who never picked a coast, and who were still fuming over The Source handing All Balls Don’t Bounce two and a half mics. But if you check Ebay, these are also the kids who paid $50 for a sealed copy of Cloud Nine last week - there’s a market gap for records like Symptomatic, simply for the fact that the “feel” of the album reminds some people of a time when they actually did line up at record shops because they actually could rely on their favourite artists to put out dope product and didn’t have to check for leaks first. So Darc Mind’s “2006 debut album” is a time capsule - and it’s also a rare case where you can say “Man, this sounds dated”, and mean it as a sincere compliment.

Comments are closed.


No Comments

Leave a reply

  Mixtape D.L.
  • No items.
Recently Commented On