featured REVIEW


Aarophat & Illastrate The Black Noise LP IllSevenz/Working Class • 2009

How long does it take for an emcee and a producer to click and build chemistry? Aarophat, an MC reppin Youngstown, Ohio, and Illastrate, a producer holding it down for Atlanta, only needed 14 hours. In 14 tracks, the MC’s raw, waterproof flow and Illastrate’s dirty drums with dusty soul sampling match seamlessly.

'They said hip-hop died, the same time my heart was beating so I know they were lying', Aarophat, who made it to Rawkus’ ’50 MCs’ and once was signed to Rasco’s Pockets Linted label, perfectly illustrates on 'Ghetto2Ghetto' his passion and motivation that echoes throughout the rest of the album, in spite of the sombre pictures he often sketches. In the Midwest anthem 'Midwestkids' for instance ('our lungs breathe desire, we’re hungry with fire') he bluntly describes an image of the local street life ('we’re looking at America like fuck the dream, we’re still slaves to the pavement').

Aarophat (no relation to Yasser) is dead serious and constantly aims to step up his game, while touching on personal, spiritual subjects and including symbolic themes woven with escapism in his vocabulary, for example on the eerie 'Driftin', explaining alcohol consumption and his bond with the holy number seven, and the 'Higher (Revolution)', touching on elevation, education and evolution.

No black grammar without ‘black noise’ as Illastrate (aka Hoody Allen) serves a soulful yet rugged soundtrack, well infested with rough drums, kicks that hit hard, and snares that snap necks. If you didn’t know him yet from having produced for Lords Of The Underground, Tiye Phoenix, Akir and Broady Champs, you will certainly get to know him in the future as he’s producing Dynas’ ‘The Appartment’ album on BBE. Dynas himself comes fresher than Fisherman’s Friend on 'Lay It Down' and 'Center Stage', while Small Eyez and Boog Brown turn the remix of ‘Midwestkids’ into a crew anthem.

Hip-hop from the soul, in beats and rhymes, but as well hard, totally in the vein of 'the more emotion I put in it, the harder I rock'-philosophy. 'This is been overdue so are you ready for change?', Aarophat asks in the album. We certainly are.

POSTED ON 09|15|2009 by cpf

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