Riotakt ("Riot Akt") are DJ / Producer ReBl & MC 4star. The duo hail from Leamington and have been playing in bands since they were at school. Their political hip-hop is influenced by rock & rap and combines heavy beats with deep dark fiery flows. Both are said to be consummate professionalsin the recording studio and certainly the result is pretty polished.
Riotakt have burst onto the hip-hop scene with this hard-hitting debut on Dissential Records which is a blend of intelligent anti-war flows and heavy backing tracks. ReBl’s beats and instrumentation are infectious and feature lots of big stabs and orchestrated sounds which fill up the aural vista. The MC has a style which sounds like a classic UK MC in that he raps fast and and has the same endless flow rather than one that changes in tone and timbre as the tracks develop. It is never the less impressive to hear 4star flowing at speeds of up to 140BPM, like Orifice Vulgatron this is pretty breathtaking.
01. Intro : No Justice
02. Check It Out
03. Holding It Down
04. Breaking Ground
05. Bus’ It
06. Step Back
07. Lyrikal Warfare
08. Warfare (Skit)
09. Da Riotakt Presenta
10. Fall Bak 2 Basiks
11. All Shut Down (Skit)
12. Dark N Grimy
13. Claim My Title
14. Won’t Come Back
15. Holding It Down (Rebl & Crazee A Remix)
16. Let The Leader Lead
The LP is 14 tracks long with an extra two bonus tracks thrown in as well (one of which is a remix of a track already included). The LP kicks off with the sound of Black Helicopters setting the sound for what will be a full on aural assault. Soon we are into Check It Out which is really typical of this crew. Harsh electronic sounds and hard fire rapping. Breaking Ground is a manic up tempo bumper with a touch of an ehoey dub guitar and epic chorus where all the sounds you can imagine are piled into the mix.
Bus’ It is a brief respite from the rest of the LP and is on an easier vibe like Da Riotakt Presenta, before tracks like Step Back and Fall Back To Basics which have an intensity that is hard to match. The title track Lyrikal Warfare is nice with sparser production utilising a piano and some fresh drums. Additionally 4Star doesn’t give it as much octane as he is capable of and the track benefits for it.
I would most liken this to offering to an act like DMX perhaps due to the heavy industrial sound. Not my favourite sound, the use of the electric guitar gives a heavy and harsh listening experience, but also the way it is used it sounds like a synthesised guitar rather than a real one. Producer ReBl has utilised samples from Mozart to Mobb Deep and you can see the influences of artists like Rage Against The Machine and the Prodigy.
For me stand out tracks included Claim My Title and Holding It Down for the more relaxed production. But I guess my overall complaint would be that the whole offering sounded too much like it was all very similar and after a while of listening all the tracks seemed interchangeable. The final track, the Rakim sampling Let The Leader Lead is anthemic and its electronic opening bass give the undeniable Riotakt touch. It is quirky and ends on the side of the band that I find preferable.
The CD artwork is overall quite dark and from the outside doesn’t give much of an impression of the band, but inside it folds out for a nice photo montage.
The duo are sure to appeal to the fans of more rocky acts like Linkin Park and Fred Durst et al, but they could also appeal to a more UK crowd of Kalashnekov, The Streets and even Lewis Parker fans as well, (among others of course). If you like your hip-hop edgy and dark, get hold of this album.