I was hard on Vakill and he must have read the Shrimp because his new album is a lot better! Seriously its still very lyrically intricate but he’s manned up his style, talking about Chicago’s gangsta city rep on the goth-rap of “Cold War,” rapping alongside real underground lyricists like Royce da 5’9 and Ras Kass, and generally acknowledging that skills can only get you so far; you need passion. Earning his full-page spot in XXL. You can hear it in his voice: he sounds hungry and fierce. It isn’t about hip-hop nostalgia, there’s not much NY dickriding, and there’s a lot more about being Chicago and just generally this LP sounds more aggressive, like he gives a shit and has something to say and someone to say it to. He got some quality beats from the Molemen which helps – still sample-based, but they sound a lot more modern and less capital-c “Claustrophobic” a la Wu Tang, more convincingly dark, depressing, a threatening vibe that sounds more homegrown and threatens to overwhelm the listener, like the Molemen have been listening to the mid-90s Traxster/Do or Die mob sound. Vakill’s lyrics are still overwritten and overthought, but he’s g’d up the style. Some people might front on this, and they might be right to; where were the lines about glocks on the last one? But his voice carries force which counteracts his nerdy tendencies and makes the limited guntalk believeable. Really though this is one of the coldest, darkest rap albums I’ve heard in awhile, especially from a ‘punchline’ MC. The best tracks….
Worst Fears Confirmed
His last verse on this will give you a good idea of what yr in for: confrontational no-holds-barred reactionary battle raps.
“I hold it down for my n—-z thats spendin their last days in the county
and the bitches thats sendin them work laced in the brownies
For them n—-z that’s popped Jess I’m raising the bounty
‘Til your brains on your moms with the shell casings around me
That’s real talk with the real chalk on ya, resting in a twin glock coma
The flows glaucoma, who’s seeing me now? Out-MCing me now?
I win at 106 shitting on the audience with AJ and Free in the crowd
I ain’t no fucking mixtape fake thug, take an ak slug in that pussy shit fake mug!
It’s alright to show the late greats love
But some of y’all is riding dicks and don’t know it like the date rape drug
Catch me with your little niece on the couch
Kick her out the house with no blouse, Capris on slouch
I ain’t fuck I just poked at her throat like a Capri sun pouch
Point blank I’m a fucking problem capiche? I’m out
And there it is….”
Its like Eminem-style goth rap, with minor-key bombast, chiming bells and midwestern mob-style double-time hi-hats and thumping drum kicks. Its all about how Chicago’s gang history, one of those tracks that put Vakill into a long line of Chicago-gangsta-city tracks that you don’t imagine him doing back when he was spitting about graf-writing himself to death. It can get you down – listing gangs and sets in Chicago, violence and conflict, “whoever told you the cold war’s over? Tell them bring they ass to [echoed sample]Chicago..chicago..chicago….” The beat actually sounds kind of like a slower version of “Stomp” off Young Buck’s album.
Vakill feat. Ras Kass – Introducin’
“Vakill’s a rider,” “What set you claim?” “Set for life, gimme the paper fuck the fame.” Over blazing horns and wicky-wicky blacksploitation guitar like a pseudo-Just Blaze. What kills here vs. the last album is the momentum, the willingness to give some fucking adrenaline to the beats gives life to his rapping. “Concieved on a pissy mattress homie!” Hah ummm ok. No its good though!
Serpent and the Rainbow
Really really pretty soul/sitar sample that could’ve come from an underground Cool & Dre, smooth soul and Vakill spitting about staying on his grind and watching for
snakes serpents to, uh, get the gold over the rainbow. Its better than it sounds! He also talk about gangstas rocking his music, shouts out all the slums in the Chi; his music aiming for the streets rather than the ciphers.
The King Meets The Sickets feat. Royce da 5’9
OK so this has the most underground-rap-sounding title but as Ethan P pointed out to me it rips the beat from Young Buck’s “Bonafide Hustler”! Weird. You get to realize how much a 50 hook can make or break an instrumental though. Think about how much better this would be with 50s original hook on it. I think maybe Vakill needs to take the Buck disc out of his changer.
Man Into Monster feat. Vizion
I don’t really know Vizion but I like his shit, sort of a restrained stubborn workmanlike Beanie Sigel jr. flow. The beat sounds like Alchemist jr with those weird 80s pianos that echo with reverb and that weird upper-pitched buzzy bass part that all 80s tracks had when soul went synth.
Ripped it! “Fuck 16, I can son you with a ringtone alone!” Buy this shit if you like hard lyrical underground rap music.