Rhyme Asylum are the UK’s version of Non Phixion and that’s a good thing. Remember their 2002 album ‘The Future is Now’? It featured Pete Rock, Large Pro, DJ Premier and Beatnuts production – on ‘State of Lunacy’ Leatherface rivals the greats in freshness and headnodability. And despite the dark overtones it’s not the least bit boring or depressing.
MC’s Possessed, Skirmish & Psiklone spit cryptically ill lyrics full of dope vocabulary. The phrases are twisted, the metaphors are etched into verses and the punch lines are intelligent. Quotables come thick and fast (‘I swing Excalibur with stone still attached to the blade’ or ‘We go out on a limb like a pair of gloves’ or ‘And I ice pick my brain for rhymes / My frame of mind turns food for thought into migraines of rice’). Where just lyricism doesn’t suffice tracks like ‘Test of Faith’ is a really honest account of a doubting believer and ‘Holding On’ discusses depression in real terms.
The US MC guest verses here are worth a mention too. Diabolic begins proceedings on ‘Unreasonable’, he has mad menacing presence on the mic. Copywrite features on ‘Attitude Problem’, a track proclaiming that they are ‘pissed off with Hip Hop… you say we hate but you give us nothing to like’. UK rapper Reain also pops up on both parts of ‘Straight Jacket’ and sounds at home in the asylum with the crew.
Despite comparisons previously drawn a listen to this album confirms that Rhyme Asylum have created something quite excellent here. For any MC this is inspirational stuff – a lot of rappers should strive to this level of lyrical skill. The boys only sent me this on mp3 so I think I’ma have to buy this on CD. You can get yours direct from their myspace or on itunes.