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AWOL One The War Of Art Cornerstone R.A.S. • 2006

A few times a year, with only a couple releases, the hip-hop timeline gets played on. Like it’s been released three centuries too early, AWOL One’s new album arrives April 11, 2006. So by claiming to be from the 28th Century, as the Californian-bred MC usually does, he'll actually be makin old school hip-hop by then. But without getting too complicated, it’s a fact that when hearing it now, this former graff writer took hip-hop how it sounds lke today and in the 80’s and threw it in the time machine. Whether this will still be considered 'underground' in 4006 is not sure, but these days it is, embracing only a niche of the rap market.

AWOL’s hip-hop is stubborn, it’s unconventional, it’s surely hated by many but truly admired by a few. However the intro, a J-Zone produced, banger 'This Far' may put the listener on the wrong foot and forecast an album full of necktwistin boombap tracks, 'Seeds Grow' immediately grabs you by the neck and throws you into another dimension. On this experimental, twisted electro-break beat cut with a spacious synth loop a la Anti-Pop Consortium ànd produced by Living Legends’ own The Grouch, Awolrus manifests his raspy, nasal and slow-paced flow ('It’s like slow-motion in fast forward style') with twisted imagery ('I spit this story at you while I’m a mixture of saliva and blood and my girlie’s bloody and my thoughts are money') and happy (!) sing-a-long choruses. Throughout the album, the spirit of old school hip-hop is kept alive, even literally as KRS-One is featured on the underground anthem 'Underground Killz' (...the video star), alongside 2Mex rappin 'Stay true to the essential, the 1989 credentials' over a big drum beat–meets-violins production. AWOL switches over to spoken word on the lush DJ Rhetmatic laced 'Stand Before' statin 'If you wanna be broke, be an artist'. The Shape Shifters member has lots of things on his strong, analytic and distrusty mind and bluntly speaks about it in a mostly cynical ('I’m still around like VHS') way.

'The War Of Art' is something that stands out in originality. It's a welcome alternative to most of rap’s current releases, showing just how far the boundaries of this music can be stretched, without loosing the old-school spirit.

POSTED ON 04|22|2006 by cpf

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