Akira the Don

When We Were Young | Sic
By MATTHEW GASTEIER  |  February 26, 2007
2.5 2.5 Stars
This debut full-length from the only known Dalí-moustache-sporting Welsh MC is predictably volatile and refreshingly honest. When We Were Young became an independent release after Akira was dropped from an Interscope deal for delivering the track “Thanks for All the AIDS,” a blistering attack on Live 8, the Christian right, and the developed world’s indifference toward Africa. As that song title suggests, Akira has a penchant for the provocative, declaring himself “evil on the mic like Margaret Thatcher” and apologizing for the fact that Hitler isn’t going to Hell (because it doesn’t exist). His rhyme schemes aren’t the most complex in the UK, and his rock-centric tracks can be derivative in their use of familiar-sounding guitar licks and campfire sing-along acoustics. But poppier songs like “Love” work well, and he has the good taste to sample Nico’s “These Days” as well as lift the chorus from Ahmad’s mid-’90s hit “Back in the Day.” When We Were Young might not find Interscope smacking their heads at letting the next Eminem get away, but it shows what’s wrong with the music business today: when a label hesitates to release challenging, thought-provoking music, the Internet provides artists with a powerful way to get the word out anyway.
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  Topics: CD Reviews , Adolf Hitler, Eminem, Margaret Thatcher
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