Review Summary: A miracle solvent in Blue Sky Black Death fails to yield a composed solution.
To invoke a clichéd metaphor, Heads Will Roll
walks the path of an oil-water mixture – trying as hard as they may to yield a solution, Blue Sky Black Death and Gutta suffer from an inability to manufacture effective compositions. To put it simply, this record lacks cohesion, which is quite unfortunate as all the properties of greatness are here.
With an aggressive 2008 release schedule, it’s fairly obvious that the Blue Sky Black Death production duo is looking to enhance their credibility. Bordering on elite beat-making status and following up a near-classic in Late Night Cinema
, it seems as if Babygrande label reps felt that a bold move was necessary. Well known for the poster-b-boys of hardcore rap (Jedi Mind Tricks), the label decided to ally the relative hardcore unknown, Gutta, with the team. With only one critical failure of a shock rap release under his belt (in a group setting nonetheless), this decision is suspect, to say the least.
Surprisingly, the base materials here are all interesting in their own way. While failing to rise above violence, misogyny, and homophobia, Gutta still spits fire when given the chance. His skill at alliteration and sequential rhyming of multi-syllabic words eclipses that of popular underground artists; he easily outclasses Vinnie Paz (Jedi Mind Tricks) on “Walk Wit Me”, and it’s apparent that there’s a lot of potential here. While not their best work, Blue Sky Black Death proves their hardcore capability by laying down hard, electronic-soaked beats on every track, most notably “Where I’m From”. The occasional soul sample brings the listener back to contemplation on the success of their previous releases, yet never eclipses them.
How does something as interesting as this go so far astray? The sonic backdrop is there; the solid emcee is there. What’s not there is a real understanding of each other, causing a severe miscommunication in composition. The placement of Gutta’s verses makes very little sense, bordering somewhere between frustration and disdain; almost everything about the album as a whole feels phoned in. There are no interesting hooks that play off the beats, and there are no interesting beats that play off the hooks; it seems as if Gutta records his lines freestyle, in his bedroom, while BSBD produced the album before this bedroom session ever even occurred.
It’s depressing that the best track here is the only track not produced by the team marketed as being the special-elite-wonderful guest producers. “Thrashin” is indeed a well-thought out gem, obviously written and composed by Gutta and his “terrazona” crew. Despite an explosive introduction to the record, it goes nowhere as fast as Gutta can call everyone gay, kill their diva girlfriends, and prowl the streets of some city in Arizona. This is still worthwhile to try, as there’s probably something here for any fan of hiphop… just not more than once.