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Ivan Ives Newspeak No Treshold • 2009

In George Orwell’s novel '1984', 'Newspeak' is a greatly reduced and simplified language with little vocabulary and almost no grammar. When you know that Ivan Ives, Russian-born (in 1984) but raised in Brooklyn and currently residing in L.A., was already a great fan of Shakespeare in his teenager years, then the contrast between the album title and its content couldn’t be more striking. Last year Ivan Ives and his lyrical skills were showcased on Myspace and in Rolling Stone magazine and he did well out of it. Stimulated by the internet success, Ivan managed to put together a most anticipating sixth album through his own No Treshold Recordings and works further on his road to success (furthermore motivated in the uplifting 'I Can’t Wait').

Self-confident in his style ('I’m on top of my game like a mammal on the food chain'), challenging other emcees ('What’s Your Excuse'), with a strict flow (on 'That Man'), and some cinematic verses that betray his film schooling, Ivan the Terrible impresses immediately from the first tracks on. Being joined by Percee P on 'Kill Em', Ives impresses us with inner and end rhymes, nicely alliterating over a straight loop.

'Stand Up' is a most refreshing L.A. anthem with guest features from Tre Hardson (Pharcyde) and 2Mex ('I’m liable to be believed like lines from the Bible'), while Black Milk (what’s his contribution exactly?) and Oh No (on an uninspired and cliché party track – 'I go out on Friday night and I come home on Sunday morning') unfortunately don’t live up to the quality level that must be expected from household names like this, certainly on a productional level.

The infectious braggadocio over atmospherical boombap that flourishes throughout the album stumbles a bit towards the end, 'Red Scare', 'Heart Attack' and '1984' don’t impress, but still can’t spoil the feeling that we have just witnessed the testimonial of a talented rapper.


POSTED ON 06|05|2009 by cpf

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