Zeale32, Strange Fruit Project, DJ Avatar & DJ Hannibal, Malcolm Kipe, and Robbie Hardkiss
Reviewed by Robert Gabriel, Fri., Aug. 6, 2004
Confirming that "darkness is far, far greater than the speed of light," Zeale32's tour of duty as an underground battle MC culminates with an eponymous disc armed to the teeth with heat-seeking missiles. With fellow ATX gunner Haps dropping both beat and hook, Zeale sprays "In the Jungle" with explosive promise: "In this pack of black cats, we don't rap a dud." Even local legend Tee Double takes on friendly fire as "5 More Pills" is administered with the cold indifference of a Kevorkian machine. The deadpan delivery of Bavu Blakes falls under the textured influence of Waco's Strange Fruit Project as "Remember My Face" is comfortably resigned to the idea "that's how the world's designed, to make you lose it." Sporting gloriously soulful production from Symbolic One and Illmind, SFP's three-song single walks a line between hip-hop and humanity as if they're naturally intertwined. Fusing samples from every source under the sun, DJ Avatar & DJ Hannibal amass an Earful of Wax over the course of their 16-track beat-mining expedition. Idris Mohammad, Special Ed, and the Electric Prunes mingle among instrumentals of Arabian, Indian, and Jamaican influence as Avatar & Hannibal assemble a sound collage of immense proportions. Malcolm Kipe, otherwise known as Planet Mu electro ace Nautilis, feeds ripe dinosaur eggs into the imploding swirl of Breakspiracy Theories Volume 1 (Merck). With jazz amply looped and dub effects in effect, Kipe's hip-hop excursions steep a sample-based stew of relentless political subversion. "You better understand revolution" since this 11-track expanse alternates between cut-and-pasted instrumentals and Kipe's manifestos. West Coast breaks pioneer and Austin transplant Robbie Hardkiss encores his Prince-inspired house hit from last summer as "Everything Is Changing" morphs into fresh remixes by Derrick Carter, Brett Johnson, and Freaks.