Cymarshall Law and the Beatnikz | Freedom Express Line

Freedom Entertainment (2010)
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  August 24, 2010
4.0 4.0 Stars

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It's damn near crotch-stiffening to discover a contemporary MC who swings compelling rhymes with an aerobic flow and trademark whistle. New Jersey–based UK ex-pat and underground vet Cymarshall Law is such a renaissance talent, and on this picture-perfect effort, Sweden's Beatnikz bless homeboy with production so robust, I would have bet a toe there was a live band behind each cut and crevice.

This isn't just a sweet spread of back-to-back bangers — it's a titanic hip-hop experience on the level of a K'Naan or K-OS album. Few artists can flirt with reggae æsthetics and come off this unapologetically hip-hop, and Cymarshall's Jamaican essence packs a sense of justice that superbly complements his gift.

"Believe This" lays out the mission: to bank as much dough off hip-hop as possible without compromising one message, rhyme, or syllable. From there, thanks to eclectic yet consistent horn-smoked backdrops that bring symmetry, Cymarshall is able to range from the personal ("Give I Fi I Name") to the romantic ("Love") and the righteous ("Believe This") without derailing the Freedom Express Line. Talib Kweli once said, "There are a lot of talented cats underground"; I wouldn't be surprised to see Cymarshall grow into the next Mos Def.

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