It’s called ‘don’t sleep’ cuz you’re guna have to be awake to feel this guys words to their full affect. Fuck a coffee and a wedge of Noam Chomsky, start here:
I don’t know about you, but that’s everything I want lyrically from an MC; social commentary, history, positivity, overstanding, economics, culture, it’s all there. The 26 year old London rapper goes hard on every single track I’ve heard, he’s killing tracks in batches as quick as producers are cookin em up. His 2012 LP The Quantum Leap is Phoenix and Chemo dropping intelligent, deep Hip Hop with that dark, grimy sound that you’d hope for from any member of Triple Darkness. After hearing Back To The Essence earlier this week I went from casual fan to full on backin this guy 100%. As always, we need more guidance from mentally strong, educated male role models to combat the youth slipping into that radio rap coma; and to open minds using a medium the whole world embraces. That’s what true underground Hip Hop has always been used for, it’s always provided that platform. But it’s a lot more seldom that people recognise it, or use it for what’s it’s original purpose was. The draw of guns, drugs and objectification is strong, plus you got Politricks trance-forming the 85% daily:
This one finds Beat Butcha at the helm, slamming out another eerily beautiful composition with ease. It’s a strong example of the album’s important messages delivered with a sharp tongue, and the chorus comes especially poignant; “the media aint pushing nothing positive for the kids of today man, legalising the drink an the cigarettes like weed is the biggest threat, fightin in a war but they’re not telling you the true cause, where’s the respect?” Important words when the general consensus is the opposite.
His guest on Haan’s Bless The Dead track was another pivotal building block in the kingdom Phoenix has crafted for himself over the last few years. Pro P’s ill beat backing lines like; “The sword of Damacles, this hell I see is bright, the inferno, turn you on a spit while you burn slow, masonically I build pyramids of black gold encoded by Lucifer to captivate the soul”
In fact, all the guest verses he spits on other people’s tracks are highly reflective of the thought that he puts into his craft. To fathom an overstanding of the universe this complete, not to mention complex at his age only happens through dedication. And that time spent doing the knowledge reveals itself on tracks like the Sword Of The Scribe, the Melanin 9 collab Spiritual Scrolls. Tricksta’s ‘UK Runnings’ mixtape banger Walking With Angels, and the laid back vibes of Herbivore’s Ascension To Nirvana.
But back to the album; One Step From Damnation features a verse from Cyrus Malachi that’s above even his skyscraper-high standard for bars. If you don’t know anything about Cyrus this is an excellent place to begin. He fires a dizzying mix of intricate speech patterns discussing sub atomic particles, Kemetic history, the lesser-known books of the bible, and political conspiracy; that’s all backed by a wealth of knowledge from sources like Malachi Z York, Dr Booker T Coleman and The Black Dot. Phoenix’s verse is similarly comprehensive and he holds his own on a track with any comrade in TD.
Just the guests on The Point Of No Return should spark your interest, Klashnekoff and Keith Murray are both heavyweights in their own lane; and over a laid back guitar loop combined with a catchy chorus and some nice sample selections that Chemo cuts up, it’s a sureshot that all the MC’s shine. I’m feelin Mental Prisoners Pt. 2 hard right now, if you recognise the truth in the man’s words it’s another portal to that righteousness that’s so deeply embedded in real MC’s work. “It’s how were living, locked down in prisons, triple six is the digits, it’s much more than just figures, global control, they want your soul, it’s a mental prison, as I watch the time tickin”.
Before he was bringing the heat on The Quantum Leap, he was making conscious street anthems and burnin up the underground on Baptism Under Fire. The Dj Roast hosted mixtape allowed him to vent his frustrations at the world and make sense of it all through rhymes. It’s an unsurprisingly deep listen, with a lot of knowledge to learn from his words. His content is still more relevant than most MC’s now, and the tape came out in 2009. Every time I get into a new member of TD I think ‘this is what Hip Hop should sound like’. Check out tracks like 5 Jewels , Hells Fire, and Eargasm for more proof that this guy’s one of the UK’s best and as been for time.
You can cop the album now at his site for a criminally cheap price! He’s guna be dropping more music soon under the new name Solar Black so keep your ear to the pavement, cuz for real lyricism that brings Hip Hop back to that powerful place it began; the man is a shining beacon in these treacherous times.