There's a reason Rhyme Asylum are at the pinnacle of their game and it's not because they're completely bonkers. They have been honing their craft since the debut album and Solitary Confinement really shows off their devastating skills to maximum effect. It's back to the classic mid 90’s boombap sound of DITC with a futuristic twist.
The album opens with the title track, setting the stage for production and lyricism of the highest quality. Writing a review, the temptation here is to just transcribe the bars so you can see what I am talking about. It's constant, relentless clever pun punchlines and ill wordplay:
“put my money where my mouth is and raise my face value/your talk is cheap doped up on thorazine – spit one time for your mind like the thought police”
And on the track 'Event Horizon' featuring Crooked-I:
“I'm a fire breathing Siamese dragon from a lost dynasty that travelled to this mic in a time machine/locked in cross fire of sniper beams – catch 22 bullets and throw 11 back at twice the speed”
The beat is a string laden soul sampling banger.
However, its the 'story telling' style which most emcees find hardest and these emcees are obviously naturals at it, a fantastically rare thing in this age of a million mediocre rappers. This is not a happy tale though ('Broken Window'), as it describes the kind of world once inhabited in real life by the victims of Donald Ewen Cameron and his MK Ultra experiments or the Jack Nicholson character in Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.
This is an extremely dark album which will take you a while to digest, but once you get acquainted with the more introspective and soulful tracks like 'I Know' and or the crazy Beatnuts sounding 'Straight Jacket Immortals' you will become an instant RA fanatic. To cut a long story short, Possessed, Psiklone and Skirmish are some of the only UK emcees heavy enough to get Ill Bill on a track.
Fuck it, just go buy the album, or if you're gonna be a culture destroying cheap skate and try and steal it then at least show this group some love on myspace and catch them when they tour.
By: Esh | For international hip-hop: http://www.myspace.com/ibmcs