29 June, 2011@3:37 am
On paper, the concept of a posse LP featuring underground fan favorites Sean Price, Guilty Simpson, and emcee/producer Black Milk on one album together sounds like a no-brainer. That’s exactly what we get with Random Axe, a team-up of the three artists, presented by Duck Down.
However being that the three each have their own distinct sound and style, the crew certainly lives up to it’s name, in this seemingly randomly selected super-group. Black Milk’s production here is extra raw, as songs like “The Hex” and “Understand This” defy mainstream conformity, with abrasive loops and intricately chopped drum breaks. “Everybody Nobody Somebody” also stands out, as each emcee builds their verse around a word in the title, while “Chewbacca” invites Roc Marciano to spar with the fellas, on a track that salutes the famous Wookie from it’s first line.
The non-conformist attitude of the lyrics and unprecedented rawness of the production will certainly appeal to heads’ that are tired of the cookie-cutter formulas in hip-hop. However, we’ve seen many other albums over the years take a similar approach, but with better execution. Not to mention, the standard these artists set on their own projects is a challenge to live up to, whether it be Heltah Skeltah’s Nocturnal or Black Milk’s Album Of The Year. Another issue is that the emcees aren’t quite equally yoked; Sean being the strongest, who seems to be holding back at times, in hopes to not overshadow his crew.
So while Random Axe may have somewhat of a Firm-like disappointment hovering above it, it still provides satisfaction in small doses. Given that today’s hip-hop is merely a shell of what it used to be, many will enjoy it for what it is.
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