It takes something special for an instrumental hip-hop album to stand out, to feel its way into the memory and put the ears on repeat, to last beyond its usually brief moment in the stereo. This album doesn't have that. Fortunately, it does have plenty of guest vocalists.|
Standing head, shoulders, waist, and thighs above the rest of the album, "Evolution is Outdated" features a simple but effective DJ Vadim piano-bass-drums composition and two short, too dope verses from Illogic and Blueprint. The hook's catchy, and the subsequent Bad Fathers appearance works well enough. But peep Illogic's words: "Yo, I'm what you hate to see/ So many styles, a pound of clay can't shift shapes with me/ Come on, we can do this subliminal or blatantly/ On stage or in a cipher/ Instant message or record pressings/ Your metaphors met a fist in my circle/ You tied a slipknot/ Took acting lessons to get props/ Meet me in the park so we can make the street rock/ So I can take you out/ Print can tackle, force your mom to beat the box." Illogic is simply one of the best emcees spitting right now.
Opening track "Enter Dependents" also does the work, bass strings sawing away as the drums boxer punch, and Manchild of Mars Ill appears along with a couple of the Bad Fathers to lay down some hard vocals. A close contender for the silver medal comes with the moonlight beat shimmy and halting Braille flow on "Higher Frequencies." Braille raps, "The only thing changing is time/ We can't press for wine/ Trapped in the present/ My head in a box/ My emotions controlled by a watch." In the event of a second place tie, the bronze medal would surely go the next track, the fiddler on the roof mourning through his fingers as the drums clang, and Sev Statik deals with the "Absence of You."
Of course, not all of the tracks with vocalists work well. "Weed Cookies" is a spoken recipe for making, well, weed cookies. It's mildly amusing, but not that great for repeat listens unless you happen to be waiting in the kitchen with a bag of grass. Also, it's one of several mediocre tracks that exclusively feature members of the Bad Fathers. Apart from those there's Rachel Kann's "Lie Down Beside You," which makes for one hell of an non-sexy come-on.
Then there are the instrumentals that account for half of the album's tracks. Oh, and some good ones do raise their hands: the ethnic sizzle of "Mongolian Fire," the underwater opera funk of "Russian Percussion," the orchestrated bombast of "Interlude in E Minor." Yet, still, it's all rather forgettable, and any impressions quickly made just as quickly fade.
In short, download that track with Illogic.