20 May, 2013@8:15 am
Producer Blockhead is best known for his series of instrumental albums released on Ninja Tune, as well as beats for several of Aesop Rock’s critically acclaimed Def Jux LP’s. Illogic is sort of a best kept secret emcee from Ohio, who regularly keeps the company of fellow forward thinking artists like Blueprint, Slug, and Abstract Rude, each of whom appear on Capture The Sun, the new record that brings the emcee and producer together.
Following a pair of EP’s called Preparing For Capture, the new album finds the two settling into a comfortable groove, with Block providing his usual brand of heavy beats and Illogic’s accompanying rhymes. Illogic balances inspiring stories with disparaging ones, leading listeners on an emotional roller coaster of an LP.
“Beautiful Sunday”, for instance, finds the emcee taking life by the horns, which M.O.P.-esque chants of “get up!” are cut into the hook, while later on “Last Breath”, Illogic pens heartfelt verses to his immediate family, in a forthright, open manner. The groovy “Bridges” is also quite inspiring, despite bing a bit of a downer, as Illogic reveals “See I’ve been marked for death since the womb / umbilical cord around my neck, I barely made it out / plus they found cancer in my retina when I was two / became a cyclops, but saw clearer than everybody else….”
Illogic’s lyrics teeter back and forth between inspiration and depression, many times pondering his own mortality. Both “One Way Ticket” and “Where’s The Exit” find Illogic yearning for a better world, dodging suicide as an option. Yet “Finally Free”, a tale of domestic violence with seemingly no way out, seems to be the character’s only option.
On the down side, Illogic’s less topical, more poetic tracks can be a bit heavy-handed for some listeners. Another gripe is that the recording quality of the album lacks the same polish and fullness found on some of Blockhead’s other albums and collaborations. This is likely due to a lack of access to expensive studio equipement, but on the other hand, that didn’t stop hip-hop’s pioneers from making classics.
Of the three projects recorded by Illogic and Blockhead, the first volume of Preparing For Capture remains the strongest, but there are some solid gems buried within Capture The Sun.
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