What do I look for in a hip-hop album? What are my expectations? Sophisticated lyricism? Headnodding beats to set off the party? Or simply set the mood leaving enough room to take in thought-provoking ideas where available? Should I even have expectations? Or simply allow myself the experience of the ride provided by the MC and producer.
Victorious Impervious Champions (or V.I.C for short) is the new collaboration from Boston-based producer The Arcitype and Brooklyn’s Ruste Juxx and–having followed The Arcitype for a while now–my expectations were high from jump. As a producer, The Arcitype has always impressed me with his extensive musical palette and sensibilities. While I had heard of Ruste Juxx, I never really had the opportunity to dive very deep into his catalog.
The Arcitype as expected delivers; sample-free beats–often built over a bed of instrumentation with intricate arrangements–are complimented by tight production values that draw deeply from the aforementioned musical sensibilities. Ruste comes through with lyrics that leave nothing to the imagination; strong visuals, laced with heavy doses of reality effectively channeled via The Arcitype’s sound. Add to mix strong showings by guest MCs like Termanology, Sadat X, Genius, Craig G and Steele, just to mention a few; powerhouse lyricists rounding things out nicely. Joints like “Lava” (Ft. Termanology), “The Life I Live”(Ft. COPYWRITE) and “Right There With Me” (Ft XL, Sadat X & Skanks) are good examples of what I mean: blazing beats with strong MCs on deck to bring the party to your headphones or speakers.
Going back to my original question regarding what I want and expect from a hip-hop album – This album provides answers. Music that dares to exceed expectations (even the artists’) by digging deep and going further than the norm. Making the conscious effort to create something timeless and worthy of repeated spins, a definite must for the headphones and playlists in an era swimming in mediocrity.
- Enyi Emesih