The supergroup is one of those things in Hip-Hop that never seems to pan out. Big names, big egos and big expectations usually lead to a project falling flat on its face. With Polyrhythm Addicts, the concept of supergroup can go right out the window. With a well respected but virtually unknown lineup that includes emcees Mr. Complex, Shabaam Shadiq and Tiye Phoenix (replacing Apani B Fly Emcee) and producer extraordinaire DJ Spinna behind the boards, Polyrhythm Addicts takes different turns for different people. To some that have been following each member- this is a dream come true. But to most, this is a brand new group. Either way, Polyrhythm Addicts look to claim a few more fans after dropping Break Glass.
DJ Spinna has made a name for himself with stellar production over the years. Break Glass furthers the notion that Spinna has tremendous skill behind the boards, but at times it does seem that he has yet to push himself to the next level like many have expected him to. Joints like “Kerosene”, which wraps a vocal sample from the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard around some thumping drums is one of the highlights that reinforces his credentials. The subterranean vibes of “Goin Down” emits some ultra smoothed out vibes that allows the trio of emcees to tap into a less in your face steeze.
As for the emcees, Complex and Shadiq do what they do best – rip mics. The surprise of the album is how well newest member Tiye Phoenix is able to keep up, and at times steal the show from her male counterparts. Given the fact that Apani left the group proves to leave some pretty big shoes to fill, and Phoenix proves to be a pleasant addition. The surprise isn’t just because she is a female (“So you like to take my kindness as a weakness/take my vagina as a weakness/just because you rhyming on the D-List” she boasts), it’s because she’s surrounded by so much talent which would leave many emcee’s pen’s quivering at the thought of trying to not look like the weak link.
The three emcees brutalize the album with battle rhyme after battle rhyme on Break Glass. Setting the album off just right with “Smash”, the trio set the tone for the rest of the LP. On the highlight track “Zonin’ Out”, each emcee works it out over another stellar Spinna concoction. Guests fall through adding a bit of variation to the album. Pharoahe Monch lends some vocal help to “Reachin’” while Phonte laments about his former label woes on “It’s My Life”. Planet Asia and Large Professor also chip in with some solid 16′s to keep things rolling.
At 17 tracks, the album does border on being too long. It wouldn’t be a problem if there was more variety on the album. Not to say that the emcees don’t demonstrate that on Break Glass, but joints like the blahzay relationship joint “Get Ghost” and the annoying hook of “What The Problem Is” serve as speed bumps on an otherwise smooth ride.
With Tiye stealing the show and Complex and Saadeeq doing solid work coupled with some effective work behind the boards, Break Glass does the trick, but doesn’t reach its full potential like its predecessor, Rhyme Related. With Tiye rhyming like the only one with really something to prove, the others pack in really good efforts in schooling you on how dope they are, but not really taking it to the next level. Spinna, on the other hand, remains dope, but many of us are still waiting him to take his hip-hop production to that next-next-level. It’s possible that he won’t ever get there and always be a above average producer, but that doesn’t mean we won’t continue to have expectations. Break Glass ends up being an above average album that could have been great if the envelope was pushed just a little more.
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