Hip Hop’s gender imbalance has been an often debated and well-documented point of contention within the genre. There exists this void in quality female MCs in today’s climate – but there has always existed this dearth of female participation. Thankfully, we’ve been blessed by artists like Jean Grae, whose gender should be the least of one’s focus. Detroit MC Invincible, and her stellar debut ShapeShifters, should eternally be mentioned as amongst the one of the very best MCs today– regardless of gender and race –with the release of this excellent album.
The Black Milk-produced introductory track, “State Of Emergency,” begins the CD with intensity and there lays an urgency wrapped carefully in Black’s tense track – allowing Invincible’s impressive rhymes to soar right along with the production. The vibe continues amazingly with “Looongawaited,” produced by Vaughn T of The Labtechs. The thumping track lends just enough background aggression for Invincible to deliver her forceful and well-written lyrics to great effect. “Sledgehammer!” adds on to display just how incredible Invincible’s delivery truly is. The hypnotic and haunting beat from 14KT and Haircut of the Labtechs is the perfect backdrop.
“Spacious Skies,” produced by Apex, is a metaphor in motion with Invincible painting an almost anti-patriotic view of America – yet the song never seems to come off as an angry declaration, but rather more of a pleading cry to correct the supposed wrongs inflicted domestically and abroad in the country’s name. The songwriting on this track is particularly dense but artfully delivered – perhaps one of the better topic driven songs on the disc. Black Milk’s production appears again on the track “Recognize” featuring the talented Finale. As strong as the track is, the performance from the MCs is what makes this record work. Invincible and Finale, if it hasn’t been discussed by now, should consider working together more in the future. The chemistry exhibited on this track is undeniable. The somber “In the Mourning,” produced by Waajeed of Bling47, closes the album out in the same impressive vein as the rest of the songs preceding it. This is not a comfortable album or something one should attempt to digest in a few quick listens. This record should be on constant repeat as to absorb the many places Invincible takes the album lyrically and with an almost automatic ease. There is never a moment in which you don’t wish to know what she’ll spit next. Without even a hint of exaggeration, this is clearly one of the best-written Hip Hop – scratch that – best-written albums to come about in some time.
— D.L. Chandler