Con?iracy - Tour Of Duty CD [Cons?iracy]The intro to this album leaves me rather apprehensive. From the start we’re on the battlefield. Fighting for all the things Cons?iracy stand for. By the time the disc stops spinning we haven’t really left it. However, Cons?iracy don’t limit us to one battle or field. We see the fight with many different reasons, intentions and actions. And so everything fits together without sounding too contrived or closed minded. Its life battle shown in an honest and effective light.

Hip hop revolves around battles. Battles against poverty, repression, discrimination, segregation, the government and media. It’s all relevant when you enter a battle of skills. Whether you focus all your energy, passion and pain into bringing down another MC, b-boy, beat boxer, DJ or graffer. It’s important we all do it with the same ‘fight to win’ mindset. The same aggressive persistence. It’s how you tell the fake from the real, a break dancer from a b-boy, and a sell out from a work out.

The entire album is a genuinely decent listen. Yet although they’re treating it like a battle, their  weapons seem limited in their effect. The ideas are all focussed on home. Fair enough, you’ve gotta spit about what you know. But not when you’re claiming to be something bigger, bolder and to have an action inspiring effect. Freedom shouldn’t be a safety signal. It should be the reason you address world issues. It seems as though this whole battlefield idea becomes rather futile and half hearted when they don’t stretch far enough lyrically. At times it seems too self centred without any reputable rationale. The finest lines all start with the same letter... ”I’ve got to give as good as I get”, “I’ll show you how to rhyme full distance”, “I don’t live the life I love, I love the life I live”.

The lyrics are consistently levelled, but they look inside more than they look around. They’ve got flow, but the tides all roll into the same shore. We’re seeing different battles but from the same angle. What they are mint at however, is providing a skilful mix of 08 British hip hop with an overseas, back in the day bluesy smoothness. The sharpest track by far, ‘Money’; establishes this skill. The beats are laid back, but provide an open integrity the lyrics would do well to follow. The clicks and hi-hat chokes are seamless. The sample melodies hit the right spot every time. ‘Every Day’ cleverly utilises the classic sample we saw on Shameless’ similarly named hit. This could all quite easily lead to some incredibly unique and prodigious live performances. And the word on the street suggests that with Cons?iracy, this is the case every time.

The presence of eight different producers is Cons?iracy’s way of showing they’re so comfortable in their own armour that further influences only magnify their personal style instead of making them lazy and weak. It also stops the listener getting tiresome or judging the entire album and duo on one track. For these guys their battle is their duty and their producers just strengthen the troops.

Tour Of Duty is available to buy and download on 14th April 2008.

By Nino


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