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Certainly to be one of the most controversial hip-hop albums of the year, Ras Kass and Apollo Brown’s, Blasphemy, is a concept LP that is more or less a crusade against organized religion. It’s also one of the best albums of the year, and quite possibly the most concise album that Ras has ever recorded.

Ras Kass released an underground favorite with his 1996 debut, Soul On Ice, but was never able to match it with subsequent follow-ups. Both Van Gogh and Goldyn Chyld were hotly anticipated albums amongst heads, boasting production from DJ Premier, Dr. Dre, Hi-Tek, and others. However a corporate takeover of Priority Records and an arrest and jailtime for a DUI found both albums shelved, derailing the career of an otherwise promising emcee. Since then, Ras has released a series of independent projects, but has always experimented with several sounds and producers.

Blasphemy teams him with the bubbling hot Detroit producer Apollo Brown, who has made a career of lending his beats to great emcees that have lacked an A-list producer to cut an entire album with. Apollo’s albums with O.C. (Trophies) and Guilty Simpson (Dice Game) ruled in 2012, while he teamed with midwest emcees Verbal Kent and Redpill to form Ugly Heroes in 2013.

Much like the Trophies project, the two artists coming together for Blasphemy is just what they both needed to achieve greatness. Ras is an incredible emcee that hasn’t always had incredible production, while Apollo Brown is still a relatively unknown producer that needs strong artists to flesh out his classically produced, sample driven beats.

Surely designed to poke the hornet’s nest, Blasphemy is a series of tracks that question the existence of God and organized religion. The album opens with the “Next Caller,” sketch, built around that viral public access video of a swearing, drunken contradictory televangelist that’s been floating around the internet for the last decade or so. They then launch into the incredible “How To Kill God,” which finds Apollo producing The Blueprint era Kanye chipmunk soul, before Ras launches into his sermon. Mormonism is just one of the targets, as he spits:

“Mormons believe prophet Joe Smith / Say Christ appeared in America 1820 and shit / Said black people is cursed / Preach polygamy and told the white man to rule the Earth / Utah still racist as can be / So mothafuck Donny and Marie”

No religion is safe, even Christianity is put to the test, as Ras pens easily his most controversial song since “Nature Of The Threat,” but suggesting “I’m not anti-Christ.” One would think he would stop there, but he takes more shots on “Deliver Us From Evil,” yet turns to prayer on “Please Don’t Let Me,” listing his vices and hoping to avoid repeating past mistakes. Yet “Animal Sacrifice” is titled as such just to raise eyebrows. The “animals” he speaks of are only competing emcees, as brands himself the “G.O.A.T. killa!”

Apollo Brown and Ras Kass are equally yoked although each have their moments to shine. “Strawberry” is what Ras dubs “Ice Cream Part 2,” as Apollo crafts a beat that mirrors the Only Built For Cuban Links classic. Soul samples are utilized perfectly on songs like “H20″ and “Roses, as Brown steals the spotlight.

Blasphemy is a packed, dense LP in its fifteen tracks, which begins to weigh a bit heavy towards the end. However that’s more due to its length than a dip in quality from either artist. The two work wonderfully together, creating the cohesive LP we’ve been waiting for from Ras, as he has finally been given the production he’s deserved. One might call it a blessing.

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8 Responses to "Ras Kass & Apollo Brown – “Blasphemy” – @@@@ [Review]"
  • Model Citizen says:

    I’ve NEVER been a fan of Rass Kass. That being said, I actually really like this record upon first listen. Rass and Apollo mesh pretty well, I would place this above “Trophies” and slightly below “Dice Game.” Dope record all around.

  • Battlehound says:

    Solidly dope album! Probably would’ve dropped the giraffe pussy and drunk Irish tracks


    Battlehound, you’re kidding right. GIRAFFE PUSSY is one of the best tracks on there, if not THE best..ill production and Royce went in on that. I like your sense of humor tho..

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