Saturday, 4 April 2015

Killer Mike "R.A.P. Music" (2012)

Southern rapper Killer Mike's sixth record "Rap Music" couldn't be more to the point. A title fitting for a record thats direct with solid raps and no-nonsense beats. Mike's twelve years of experience since his debut with Outkast, shines bright as he dominates each track with imaginative, commanding flows keeping the listener engaged with his lyrics, which get political in the later half of the record. Over the twelve tracks theres not a moment of filler on an album that seems to get progressively better with each track. Its quite an unusual way for a record to play through, but this one genuinely gets stronger and stronger until the title track sees the record out as Mike muses on all the influences that makes up his music.

One of the first things I picked up on was the production. The beats have that characteristic similar to "Run The Jewels", I was not surprised to find E-LP handled production of every track on this record. Its no surprise the two have continued to work together as we hear a very successful formula at work for the first time. E-LPs production captures a raw Hip Hop appeal for tight beats and grooving baselines, but his unusual pallet of buzz-saw instruments and distorted, pitch shifted samples create a style approachable but able to retain its own distinction. E-LP brings a lot of flavor to his beats with subtle tweaks and big shifts in the beats to break the sometimes stale nature of looped instrumentals.

Killer Mike is on fire this record, his flow is fast, impassioned and aggressive. The tone, delivery and pronunciation, crisp and clear. With so much to express theres no respite from his thoughts, rapped with creative word play and a fair amount of variety, from politically charged tracks to humorous story telling on "Jojos Chillin". I especially enjoyed the use of low pitch shifted rapping on "Ghetto Gospel" & "Butane", something I've desired to hear more of since Tupac's "Strictly 4 My Niggaz", E-LP and Mike using this sound effect to create some ghostly raps. Terrific record, solid through out but really comes into its prime with the track "Regan" depicting the horrid consequences of Ronald Regan's presidency. The Outkast references and "break" samples were also a nice touch considering my recent exploration of their music, very excited for the future of E-LP and Mike with RTJ3 and RAP Music 2 on the way.

Favorite Tracks: Southern Fried, Regan, Don't Die, Ghetto Gospel, Willie Burke Sherwood, R.A.P. Music
Rating: 8/10