Known for his part in a duo with MF DOOM’s live drummer, Kwake; South East London’s Confucius MC has surpassed all expectations with his accomplished début The Highest Order. The last few years have seen the rapper support Mos Def and Slum Village, drop a quality solo mixtape, and link with Jehst’s YNR Productions. With this respected platform behind him, his first lyrical offering proves his capabilities as a captivating rhymer, offering a masterclass on intelligent musicianship with a laidback cool. His content balances confident flows with insightful lines informed by a wealth of knowledge, making for an album that reciprocates the amount of attention you give it.
The concise rhymes align over beats from French producer Keor Meteor; who’s ear for uncommon jazz loops, sweet soul flips and interesting audio clips ensures CoNvey The Thought starts strong as they mean to go on; while Sign Of Quality sees Confucius spittin’ with conviction; ‘I’ll make your shit stop dead like the game’s crashin, I came to represent my skill, you came to cash in, place my shit parallel, who’ sprayin’ with passion?’ Keor’s production challenges both the MC and the listener on Original‘s conversational sample source; then switches to a simpler, more melodic tone to back stellar bars on Still Image; whilst Keor’s production shines on Eyes To Sky, placing delicate vocals on a beautifully understated chorus.
CoNsciousness utilizes a rare moment that finds David Lynch not peddling transcendental meditation; his golf-ball analogy introducing a Madlib-style loop with slick storytelling bars from Con that touch topics close to any head’s heart; ‘Tryn’a take rap to a summit, but all they wana do is down-dumb it, and these clowns love it.’ Is It Real breezes through on a smooth flute loop to address authenticity, while Ponder On This speaks on society’s slanted structure through heavily-effected vocal tones.
Lovely Chronic lounges in a fog of piff smoke to lead into the title track’s cinematic sounds; and pitched-up soul-cuts uplift on It’s All Around Us as Keor’s production and Con’s content peak together in this salient track. Deep Regions keeps the standard high, with lines more mysterious than the cryptic Pulp-Fiction-briefcase adorning the cover; ‘from the deeper regions, from which I keep receiving, visions of higher life forms, deep and breathing, take a seat, we can speak this evening, we can shed some light, or we can keep deceiving.’ Write From The Start sketches out a short verse over bass-heavy breaks, leaving Never Ending Dream to close with purposeful flows. The audio-collage approach Keor takes to his beats keeps The Highest Order consistently interesting; and when coupled with Con’s ability to craft memorable songs through insightful lines uncoloured by ignorance, the result is nothing short of Hip Hop at it’s finest.
Buy it here.