Review: Verbal Kent | Save Yourself

Rapmechanics (2011)
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  January 27, 2011
3.5 3.5 Stars


Whether you adore Kanye West or want to scalp him with a rusty spoon, there's no denying that, for those of us out on the coasts, he overshadows the rest of Chi-Town's rap scene. It's unfortunate, really, since the reclined hip-pop likes of Kanye, Common, and Lupe Fiasco represent only one side of the Midwestern coin. On the other, gaggles of radical backpacker battlers rattle the establishment - be that the government or the record industry - and they do it over jams Janet couldn't dance to.

Enter Verbal Kent, a mic-tough whiteboy armed with big rhymes and pipes equipped to pump heat. Sounding something like a pre-MTV Shady mixed with Jakki da Motormouth and Classified, the Chicago rapper's sixth solo disc is by far his finest, and not just because of assists from Masta Ace and a bevy of the best and brightest. Over adventurous yet traditional explosives from young guns and war heroes, Kent slaloms through sample gantlets, pillaging the whole way. Two choppy tracks from Illmind seem out of place amid the hardcore melodies; still, the few distractions can't subtract from the crack of Kent's production reel. "Take" and "Respect" are two of Pete Rock's hardest beats in years, and the Chocolate Boy Wonder must agree, since he spit a rare verse on the latter.

Otherwise, UK beatmakers Kelakovski and Wizard blast the bluest flames, which include the nod-riffic "Help" and the progressive manifesto "Justice Code" with Rusty Chains and Alltruisms. Overall, Kent proves that he deserves to share the booth with esteemed veterans - a stripe he especially earns on the Marco Polo-spun "My City" with Sadat X and Edo G. Just when you thought Chicago hip-hop was about flashing lights and slow jams.

Related: Fashawn | Boy Meets World, Fresh legends, Coolzey | The Honey, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Entertainment, Music, Chicago,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   THE TRIALS OF NADIA NAFFE  |  March 04, 2013
    Young, attractive, ambitious, conservative, and black, Nadia Naffe should have been a right-wing operative’s dream.
  •   HIP-HOP TRIVIA GROWS UP  |  February 26, 2013
    In their fourth year of operation, the Hip-Hop Trivia squad is finally taking the night (somewhat) seriously.
  •   OCCUPY DENIED DAY IN COURT  |  February 22, 2013
    It took more than a year for Suffolk County prosecutors to come to their senses.
  •   CZARFACE SOARS ABOVE THE CLOUDS  |  February 11, 2013
    This week 7LES and Inspectah Deck drop Czarface , a full-length work of adventurous genius revolving around a metal-clad protagonist who feeds on destruction.
  •   THE BPD ADDS INSULT TO INJURY  |  February 05, 2013
    At times, this kind of decision makes you wonder whether the BPD is saving its best awards for officers who've been involved in the death of civilians.

 See all articles by: CHRIS FARAONE