Like its punk rock cousin, much of what passes itself off as “rap” these days is pretty dismal, to say the least. Just as punk has had to learn to live with oodles of boy-band-in-training pop-punk poseur fops whoring for fame, clueless fashion slaves trying to relive the glory days of 1977/1982/1994, and whiny emo buttercups taking PC-isms to new ridiculous extremes, so has hip hop had to endure both the rise of gangsta wannabes flooding the racks and airwaves with odes to guns, bitches and the ever-ludicrous worship of the bling-bling, and the corporate raiders sucking the genre dry and trying their damnedest to prevent anything new or inventive from leading the cash cow astray. If you do a little digging under the surface of either genre, however, a whole host of amazing sounds can be found just waiting to blow your mind. Such is the case with Acid Reign’s debut. The three rappers here (Beond, Gajah, and Slowrider vocalist Olmeca) have apparently drawn inspiration from the Freestyle Fellowship/Project Blowed school of stream-of-consciousness delivery and married it to a level of hyper-speed delivery not seen since Chip Fu in his prime, resulting with one hell of a ride more often akin in tone to the jazz vernacular of Coleman or Coltrane than to your average purveyor of “street knowledge.” Taken on a purely literary level, the rhymes and rhythmic structure of the songs contained here are impeccable, fusing social commentary with an impressive experimentation with meter – these are guys who obviously paid attention during the poetry component in English class, and it shows. For those that just wanna hear some really good music, this doesn’t disappoint on that level, either. The beats and backing tracks here are strong and wildly varied, and the furious alliteration utilized by the rappers lends even more level percussive counter rhythms to the tracks, giving you even more to sonically digest. In short, this is one mind-bogglingly good record. If there were any justice in the world, these guys would rule the airwaves.
–jimmy (Nomadic Sound System)