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4 September, 2013@6:55 pm

Things come along, present themselves, and then in certain cases, resonate directly with the culture. The climate is right, the window of opportunity is open, the right person seizes it, and the perfect storm takes place. Case in point might be something like Star Wars in the 80′s or Arrested Development in the Bush era, both of which are deemed classics by their respective audiences. Nostalgia makes us wish we could return to those eras, corporate America picks up on this, so we get modern sequels (or prequels) and they are never able to capture the magic of the originals. 90′s Oakland hip-hop crew, Hieroglyphics, reform after a long hiatus for The Kitchen, which unfortunately begs a “too many cooks” pun.

On one hand, it’s nice to see the crew back together, as it shows a true love for their craft. However notably absent is long-time producer Domino, who is the unsung hero of the Hieroglyphics crew, responsible for shaping the sound on virtually all of their classics, whether in solo or group efforts. Taking the load instead is Opio, who keeps the spirit of Hiero alive on songs like “Wshores Galore” or “Highway Five”, both cuts which find them painting pictures of the respective Bay Area scene, with feel good, groovy production. However it doesn’t always fare so well. “Indonesia” inexplicably includes an off-beat bell-ringing sound that clutters the track, making it borderline unlistenable. Worse yet, the beat is revisited four tracks later on “Indonesia Interlude” for a turntablist routine, that irritates like a painful ringing in the ear.

The choice to include turntablism on the album is respectful of DJ culture, however does not fit here. Rather than simply having a DJ cut up some hooks, many of the tracks, such as “It’s Partly Me” and “Nano Salt” are disrupted by beat-juggling routines that really throw the listener off. While this is technical feat that might impress us at a DMC competition, it has no place on an album you’re trying to bob your head to.

Despite some of these faults, The Kitchen is not a bad album, it’s just very middle of the road. While Hiero has had a series of hits and misses throughout their long, storied career, when they come together as whole, especially this late in the game, fans deserve a better product.

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13 Responses to "Hieroglyphics – “The Kitchen” – @@@ (Review)"
  • yungplex says:

    must co sign this albums iz dope af and one of the best efforts I heard from hiero in minute (4/5)

  • Dayz says:

    LP is thoro… Nuff said… Straight up Cali official Hip Hop done up by the finest crew… Domino is missed but the sound is still hella fresh. AS far as nit picking the reviewer I say f@ck that, they are entitled to their opinion. If you disagree cool but keep it moving. Talk about Big Sean? F that dude and all of G.O.O.D. music, yeah I said it! Pusha Sold his soul and his LP is gonna be straight up garbage, truth. Back on track… Hiero is one of the most consistent crews and I truly enjoy this LP and have kept it in heavy rotation. Better than any rapper’s LP out, this is true to form Hip Hop music for the artistically inclined.

  • Green Django says:

    @dnpmonk the review above is by DT Swinga click on his name and see all his reviews
    Haven’t listened to heiro lp yet. Fuck Big Sean!
    Missing reviews Tony Touch, Joey badass, Everlast, U God, Homeboy sandman, Mayer Hawthorne, Lord Quas and many more

  • JustMarv says:

    How’s the album opio & pep love recorded together under the name first light, fallacy fantasy? Waiting for the tech n9ne review too.

  • the man the myth says:

    That first light joint is not bad. It has some real dope shit. I personally like Opio’s solo stuff better, and I expected Pep and Opio to drop a serious banger, but it was slightly underwhelming. I can’t wait until that new Soul’s of Mischief produced by Adrian Young, that is the album I can’t wait to hear.

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