As long as they’ve been putting it down in the game, it’s hard to believe there’s never been a Demigodz full-length LP before. We did see a little heard EP back in 2002, courtesy of Ill Boogie Records, which would lay the foundations for this very album. Ten years later, Apathy, Celph Titled, Esoteric, Ryu, Blacastan, and Motive come together and form like Voltron on their first official album, KILLmatic.
What’s interesting on this reverse-Wu-Tang approach is that the Godz built their careers first as individual acts, then came together a decade later to record their debut album. This might have actually been the best approach, as the crew has had a bit of a revolving door roster, with names like L-Fudge, Louis Logic, and Rise seemingly disappearing. Still, the core of the group remains the same, stronger than ever before, as each core member has matured into a polished, seasoned emcee.
The who-gives-a-fuck mentality of KILLmatic comes through in both it’s brazen lyrical content and it’s flagrant sample selection. The lyrical content is a contest of jabs, designed to shock the listener and instigate friendly competition within the crew. While longtime fans will snicker, rather than gasp, at their barbs, this is sure to offend your mom, your little brother, and your local pastor, while Big L and Big Pun smile from beyond the grave.
But back to those samples. We won’t blow up their spot here, but the album opens with the previously released “Demigodz Is Back”, which informally compares them to America’s favorite fictional boxer, boldly sampling his theme song without regard for clearances. The same can be said for the dead-bent “Dead In The Middle”, which borrows a classic line from Pun for it’s hook, as well as another famous theme song from an animated gang and their dog, who we’ve always assumed smoke just about as much as the Godz. These familiar samples give the average listener something to grasp ahold of, while the crew tears the mics to shreds each time.
The 80′s cartoon influence goes well beyond that however, rearing it’s head later in the album as well. “Tomax & Xamot” is a brilliant lyrical tribute to everything Hasbro, while “Captain Caveman” is a hilarious collaboration with R.A. The Rugged Man, who still might be a little sour about Ice Cube’s “Cave Bitch” record. The latter’s sample works so well, we couldn’t believe it took this long for someone to build a track around it. And the influence of Cube and company extends further onto “Raiders Cap”, which finds each Apathy, Ryu, Motive, Celph Titled working as some kind of Bizarro World, millennial N.W.A.
With the exception of one Premier track (“Worst Nightmare”, which shows ever-improvement from the Gang Starr legend) and a closer from Marco Polo (“Audi 5000″), most of the album’s production is handled in house, or by the group’s usual collaborators (Snowgoons, Scoop Deville). Playing solidly throughout, this formula shows the “hot producer checklist” isn’t needed.
As hip-hop music continues to deteriorate into something only used to sell bottles (whether it be champagne or soda), it’s nice to see a crew of dudes like Demigodz still holding it down after a decade plus in the game, especially when many of the cats that came up in their era have more or less hung up their mics. While it may have taken longer than we would have liked for this LP to come to fruition, timeless hip-hop has no expiration date. Peace to the Godz.
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