Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Reviews:: Prolyphic And Reanimator - The Ugly Truth

Fittingly enough, Prolyphic and Reanimator is composed of MC Prolyphic and producer Reanimator. The former being a native of Providence Rhode Island, while the latter hails from Chicago. The got together at the urging of one Sage Francis, who then made the duo the first Rapper/Producer combo signed to his Strange Famous label. With that backstory, if you think Prolyphic and Reanimator are on some Cash Money & Marvelous "rap is fun!" type steez, you either aren't very bright or just aren't paying attention.

Prolyphic is an angry young man. Not bring-an-uzi-to-the mall-and-mow-down-fatties angry, but angry enough to vent his way through the majority of the 15 tracks on the album. Luckily for us, that's a good thing. Done wrong, the angry, loner hip hop fundamentalist viewpoint can result in some painful music that's serious as a heart attack, but no fun to listen to. That isn't the case here. Prolyphic has a distinctive voice, and he's a solid lyricist with a knack for clever choruses, which seems kind of rare in the indie rap spectrum. Pair that with a very talented beatmaker in Reanimator, who knows exactly how to tailor his dark, layered soundscapes to fit his partner's flow like a glove, and you have yourself a debut album that was worth the three years that it was in the making.

The album opens with the killer Broken Bottles, which builds on a knocking drum loop and picked electric acoustic before fading out about a min and a half in and coming back with the guitars over big pounding drums. Prolyphic gives a vigorous intro to his style, taking our daily, mundane lives to task: "Boxing after dark, we're living daylights, we punch timeclocks in a pine box, Jack's thinkin' with an hourglass in hand, in quicksand I'm just sinkin'". The lead single Artist Goes Pop is a dark, '08 take on Pop Goes The Weasel, except it isn't really as we don't know who it's aimed at and Prolyphic would likely want to fight me for making such a frivolous comparison. Over a dense drum track he takes aim at not only the so-called "vets" who change their style up to move units, but also the recent trend of hipster-ish white dudes getting into the game and claiming to be realler than the realest. Dick and Jane is a pleasant-enough sounding track that delivers a scathing look at the blandness and gluttony of average Americans. It is also notable for an appearance by female Australian MC Macromantics who seems much improved since I first heard her a few years ago.

Survived Another Winter is simply a fantastic modern take on the posse cut, with Prolyphic, Sage, Alias, and B. Dolan each proclaiming a grudging respect and appreciation for an east coast winter over Reanimator's killer re-working of the Impeach The President loop. Great song. Mournful piano and Black Steel-esque drums provide the backdrop on the title track, as Prolyphic bares his soul and puts his doubts about his place in the hip hop universe out there for all to see. "It's ugly truth in a can, just to prove who I am, served on a cold dish and it gets old quick". It's a powerfully done song, I like it. Box Within A Box has a cool, grandiose beat that sounds like something from a 50's gladiator movie, but it also includes a brief sample from The Formula ("High energy flowin' with the wisdom"), so that garners it an automatic mention.

On The Side is all Prolyphic as he cements his position as a hip hop outcast over a sparse, sinister beat. He claims not to be a huge fan of Biggie or Tupac (I am in a similar boat) while also taking Common and his Gap sweaters to task for wearing chains (I'm not sure I can agree with this one). The well crafted Two Track Mind finds Prolyphic conflicted by the realization I'm sure many MC's come to: he can't fight the good hip hop fight and still get the girl.

If I were to have any beef with this album, it would be the length. I think 15 songs is a little long for a debut at this point, and I found that the energy was dialed down a notch on the last five songs or so with the beats being a little more on the mellow side. That gave them a bit of a same-y feeling, and I was sort of unable to remember them individually. But this is small potatoes really, I bet as I listen to this album more, as I certainly intend to, the quality of those songs will begin to make them stand out. The Ugly Truth is proof that good hip hop is certainly being made right now if you're willing to look for it. Check it for yourself when the album drops on May 6th.

Posted at 9:29 AM by naedoo :: 5 comments

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At 5:51 AM, Anonymous Peters did sayeth:

"Survived Another Winter" is not "Impeach the President," but Detroit Emeralds' "You're Getting a Little Too Smart." A bit similar, but not at all hard to tell apart.


At 8:00 AM, Blogger naedoo did sayeth:

Well, Peters, I thank you for setting the record straight. In fact "You're Getting a Little Too Smart" would also make a perfect theme song for your comment as well.


At 2:16 PM, Anonymous reanimator did sayeth:

Haha - I actually got it from the 45 for Funky Worm, but I think the story goes that Westbound took that piece from "Too Smart" and stuck it onto the beginning of the Funky Worm single - or something like that.


At 8:50 PM, Blogger naedoo did sayeth:

haha, well it just shows to go you what happens when music blog types try to act smarter than they are, myself included.

Big thanks for coming by to set the record straight, and thanks for making such an awesome beat in the first place!


At 8:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous did sayeth:

mad respect ... i know talent when i see it. cant stop listening to the album. 2 sides to every story. hope i can hear more of there work in the future... ya boy jmash


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