17 April, 2010@8:06 pm
Diabolic rose up through the underground circuit in the early 2000′s, winning a number of rap battles with his well thought out, multi-syllabic punch rhymes. Now signed with Immortal Technique’s Viper Records, the little known emcee finally makes his official debut with A Liar and A Thief.
The album finds Diabolic teaming a group of like-minded individuals, all of whom his style draws some kind of influence from. The most obvious here is Canibus, who shares Diabolic’s knack for long-winded, super-lyrical stanzas on “In Common”, but ‘Bolic displays this style even better on “I Don’t Wanna Rhyme”, over a track that would make Kool G. Rap envious. Ill Bill also stops by for “Order & Chaos”, a unique third person tale of government conspiracies, while Immortal Technique helps flesh out “Frontlines” with some of the same ideas in tow. Diabolic executes this style well on “Riot”, featuring reggae artist Deadly Hunter on the hook, and Limp Bikzkit guitarist John Outta. Perhaps the closest comparison in terms of musical style is Vinnie Paz, who joins him on “Not Again”, as the two trade rhymes and an affluence for dark, abrasive production.
While Diabolic certainly has been influenced by his collaborators, he also has defined his own style, many times shining better on the solo tip. While “I Don’t Wanna Rhyme” is probably the best display of his lyrical agility, he delivers some of his most poignant lyrics on “Reason” that a whole generation can agree with: “I think about hip-hop and how they just take it away / cause I grew up when Wu-Tang got rotation radio play / but nowadays if I say shit, I’m nothing but a hater / till I pull a rusty razor and cut your face up like fuck your paper.”
This type of rhyme permeates the entire album, which may or may not be to every listener’s liking. As we all know, the battle rhymers have always had a hard time making albums. This is not necessarily the case with Diabolic, but if there is a negative to the album it’s that it does seem to remain in dark, apocalyptic territory for much of the time, in terms of both production and lyrical content. Because of this, there is sometimes a feeling that we never get an idea on who Diabolic really is, as it’s unclear if his outlook is really this fucked up, or if he’s just taunting the listener. Coupled with sometime monotonous production, this is one of the few downfalls with the LP.
Regardless, A Liar and A Thief is a pretty solid LP that introduces the world to Diabolic, who is sure to gain a religious, cult-like following, thanks to its infinite rewindable moments. With a little fine tuning, Diabolic might soon be the underground’s favorite.
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