Ill Bill
The Hour of Reprisal


3.5
great

Review

by Sobhi Youssef EMERITUS
September 18th, 2008 | 26 replies | 14,275 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Crossover appeal abounds, Ill Bill further refines his niche of the New York underground hip-hop scene.

“Ill Bill” Braunstein, besides having the most Jewish last name ever witnessed in hip-hop, has always been the odd man out in New York. Nonetheless, he’s effectively carved his own niche out of the underground, in spite of beginning his career at the end of the Golden Age and the start of the Renaissance. Releasing The Hour of Reprisal at 36, it’s safe to say that Ill Bill is comfortable with his position in the greater scheme of things. As the introduction to “Babylon” suggests, The Hour of Reprisal serves as a retrospective of his life, or an alternative autobiography of sorts. Whatever the goal, it is immediately apparent that this isn’t just another shock rap album.

Observation of hood violence and illicit dealings, juxtaposed with participating in the atrocity, has always been Ill Bill’s way. On Reprisal, for the majority, this is thrown out the window; the final product is equal parts conviction, socio-political commentary, and hood truth. An interesting, modified spoken word flow is the weapon of choice, with hardcore delivery as the ammunition. Although more mature than previous outings, there are still plenty of content issues – especially with respect to the political commentary. There are ignorant people. The US government’s international image isn’t ideal. “Society is brainwashed” (track nine). Immortal Technique would be proud; too bad most of these secret conspiracy theories are fairly run of the mill lyrical-revolutionary doctrine. These discussions could at least use some kind of imagery, simile, or metaphor, not just obvious truths; this is exactly what Technique brings to the table in his featured joint. While Ill Bill is the focus of the album, every guest performance is well-conceived and makes sense.

The most exciting and truly unique component of Reprisal lies within the brilliantly executed production. Not only enhancing the lyrical and atmospheric delivery throughout, the beats bring a lot to hip-hop and give Ill Bill a place next to El-Producto as an elite NYC production visionary. As explained by “White Nigger” his influences are derived not only from Run DMC and the Beastie Boys, but also Slayer, Megadeth, Metallica, and (as per Max Cavalera’s guest performance) metal as a whole. This may sound off-putting to most traditional hip-hop heads, but do not dismiss this album; this is a tasteful mixture of soul-influences and distorted guitar samples. Apocalyptic and frantic at times, funky and futuristic at others, nearly every Ill Bill-devised beat is dope and perfect for every situation (even the near-juvenile attempts at government-criticism). Compared to these compositions, there are high expectations for the guest producers, yet they all deliver, with the surprising exception of DJ Premier. Although it may not fit the atmosphere of the album entirely, “Too Young” features guest producer Darp Malone, who brings an obviously RJD2-influenced sound to the track. A definite highlight to the album, this fits the progression of the album’s theme perfectly.

It’s been a goal of many a Korn-copycat to effect an amalgam of metal and hip-hop for almost two decades now. Unfortunately, most of these groups end up in two different camps - the heavily nu-metal founded rapcore - and certain brands of horrorcore, typified by simplistic metal samples. The Hour of Reprisal succeeds in his metal-hip-hop alchemy and manages to avoid these post-Beastie Boys conventions, while progressing the genre. Although only above average lyrically, Reprisal is worth a listen for the production alone and will have crossover appeal to metal fans.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
kingsoby1
Emeritus
September 18th 2008



4950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Chickenfish would like this

edit: This is closer to a 3.5, to be honest... but I tilted it up to a 4, considering my genetic predisposition to phat beatz.This Message Edited On 09.18.08

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 18th 2008



20856 Comments


Well written review & this sounds very interesting. Are we talking 1980's keyboard vocalist Howard Jones on the opener...???

AtavanHalen
September 18th 2008



17927 Comments


Hey yo Ill Bill, will you sign this for me?

kingsoby1
Emeritus
September 18th 2008



4950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

No doubt kid, what's your name?

DaveyBoy, no, this is Killswitch Engage vocalist Howard Jones.

edit: Whoa, 3,670 views?This Message Edited On 09.18.08

graves248
September 18th 2008



8 Comments


I don't remember hearing Howard Jones on this... does he sing the hook?

bastard
September 18th 2008



3435 Comments


Are we talking 1980's keyboard vocalist Howard Jones on the opener...???


I chuckled a little bit at that.

Nice job kingsoby, you have much better taste in hip hop than me, and you're a much better writer for that genre.This Message Edited On 09.18.08

kingsoby1
Emeritus
September 18th 2008



4950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks, no need to down yourself though. Everyone's taste and appreciation levels change over the years... I never really liked hip-hop until a couple years ago.
Graves - Jones is on the opener, "Babylon". He sings the chorus.

kattunlover69
September 18th 2008



1194 Comments


i just heard this babylon track, the instrumental is great but holy crap why did he produce his voice like that? it sticks out too much, kinda make meh ear drums bump ifyanowhatimean

SynGates
September 18th 2008



2467 Comments


I liked his verse in Heavy Metal Kings by JMT but I dunno if I will get this or not.

bastard
September 18th 2008



3435 Comments


Thanks, no need to down yourself though.


yeah I need to stop that.

I may give Gucci Mane a one star review very soon.

graves248
September 18th 2008



8 Comments


Jones is on the opener, "Babylon". He sings the chorus.


Wow that doesn't sound like him atall...

Overall this album is pretty solid... I'd probably put it at a 3.5...it does suffer from a lack of memorable hooks in my opinion, though.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 18th 2008



20856 Comments


I'm telling you, it doesn't sound like him because it's the orange-haired keyboard dude! Haha. I was sort of kidding with the original question. It was more a reference that a little more about the co-performers could have been mentioned in the review. I mean, there is a song featuring B-Real & Everlast. I just couldn't resist mentioning that in a review even if I went nowhere with it.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
September 18th 2008



4950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I didn't care to mention them because I like to focus on the primary artist.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 18th 2008



20856 Comments


Yeah, I thought that may have been the reason & fair enough too.
Just on that Sobhi; I always view a hip-hop album with more than half of it's track containing other vocalists as a bit of a cop out & mask for lack of talent and/or lack of depth. For mine, if you need so many featured performers, then form a duo/group with at least one other vocalist. Your thoughts on this theory...???

AtavanHalen
September 18th 2008



17927 Comments


No doubt kid, what's your name?

It's MC Lars!

JAV
September 18th 2008



1934 Comments


Listened to some tracks on the Tube and I like what I heard.
This is on my list now.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
September 19th 2008



4950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

DaveyBoy, I agree to an extent (ie The Game)... but some of the time the guest performance really serve well to round out a theme or an overall composition (especially in this case, although, there aren't a lot of guests).

SynGates
September 19th 2008



2467 Comments


ewwwwwww he uses the opening to Dragonforce's Through the Fire and Flames as the beat in White Nigger. I may never listen to that song again

AtavanHalen
September 19th 2008



17927 Comments


I may never listen to that song again

That's a good thing.

irishmanshibby
September 22nd 2008



355 Comments


his first solo cd was pretty good, and i liked some of his stuff with Non Phixion, but ive heard some of his never solo stuff and idk, im not sure if I'd be into it i'll check it out though



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