Canibus had kind of a tough break. One minute he was the most critically lauded emcee in the Tri-State area, the next he found himself blackballed by the very industry that jocked him. Strangely enough, he was even used as a punchline in Benzino’s (terrible) Eminem dis track some years back saying “Five shades darker motherfucker you’d be Canibus”. It was as if Benzino was sharing some sentiment of the industry that it was wack to be nice on the mic. (It’s not).
In retrospect, we can see clearly that an even then irrelevant LL helped turn the industry against him through the power of Def Jam, but Canibus made some mistakes along the way. His debut album was a let down, he had some behavioral issues with some of the hip-hop editorial press, and he pointlessly picked a battle with Eminem for attention during a low point of his career. Since then, he has struggled to reaffirm his place in the industry as one of the nastiest emcees to ever touch a mic, with C of Tranquility being the latest attempt.
There are moments on this LP where ‘Bus gets it exactly right. The opening track, “Capt. Cold Crush” for instance, finds him over rugged and raw Scram Jones production, bringing back that old feeling we all used to get when it was Canibus’ turn. The same can be said for “Salute”, despite it’s missing M.O.P. hook, which finds him spraying lyrical bullets in every direction, as well as the Jake One helmed “C Scrolls”, which sounds like a 2010 sequel to “How We Roll”. And Canibus over a Premier track? It finally happens on “Golden Terra Of Rap”.
Unfortunately, this self-proclaimed “man of science, not rap” attempts to get super-intelligent on tracks like “Merchant of Metaphors”, the metaphysically challenged “Good Equals Evil”, and the heavy-handed “Lunar Deluge” that later which evokes bad memories of ICP’s “Miracles”.
C of Tranquility is one of his better LP’s in recent memory, thanks to a team of producers that help get the best out of him. His fatal flaw? Canibus obviously does not want to be pigeonholed as a one-dimensional battle rapper, at the same time, on his “deeper” tracks, he instead comes off as a rambling fringe science professor. There has to be a way for him to make great music that doesn’t revolve around his super-verses, but perhaps he just hasn’t found it yet. Until then, we’ll take those entirely rhyming sentences over raw, east coast production any day of the week.
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