My philosophy on rap is: the actual rapping is the most important piece. That seems a little asinine to actually have to qualify, but sometimes good hip-hop doesn’t mean good rapping. Sometimes the draw of the song is in the hook or the production. That may be well and good for most people, but there is no substitution for a well-rounded MC. Really excellent rapping normally sounds to me like one of those rainbow sand art things you made as a kid: A lot of different colors packed into a small package. People who are really good can get two sentences worth of words in the time of half of one, and it sounds better too.
“R.A.P. Music” is a fantastic fusion of 90’s golden age hip-hop and modern elements. In one corner we have Killer Mike who’s personality, punch lines and, presence on the microphone is comparable to Biggie or Wu-Tang. In the other corner we have EL-P who produced this LP. A phenomenal producer, but much more of a modern take on the genre. He utilizes a lot of electronic sounds, which lends to a swirl of different sounds that clash in all the right ways. However, you wouldn’t be able to tell that from this album. While it certainly isn’t exactly a throwback EL-P takes a different approach with this album then his own. Instead of beating us over the head with the latest in hip-hop/electronic fusion he takes the more traditional approach without compromising his style.
Another great this about this album is Killer Mike is able to be political without being so overt about it. On most tracks when this guy gets militant there’s a thrill to it when you agree with him, but at the same time its not like he’s trying to convert you. There are still plenty of jokes, brags and wordplay that listening to the album doesn’t mean you about to go rioting in the street.
One of the highlights on this track is actually when the track “Untitled” moves into “Go!” The move between the tracks feels so easy you might mistake them for one song. Right as “Untitled” is about to exit we get supercharged by the next track and the whole thing starts up all over. It takes some pretty good production to fuse those songs so well (see above paragraph.) “Go!” in itself shows how dangerous Mike is…well on the mike. With no hook, no breaks, and no mercy, it’s your move the rest of the world.
With this album it looks like Killer Mike is going to finally get the press he deserves, after putting out 5 other albums. We’ll know for sure when his next album “The Elegant Elephant” drops soon.
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