Review Summary: Heroes die, but the inspiration to make something better remains.
Criminally overlooked in August, No More Heroes presents a dichotomy of conscious lyricism and infectious pop. Consisting of rapper SwamBurger, vocalists Alexandrah and Tonya Combs, and producer DaViNCi, the Orlando collective brings something entirely groundbreaking to a region saturated in southern rap cliches. From the onset of "Marvel" one does exactly that - marvel at undoubtedly the best track of the year and its eclectic cross-breeding of electronic soaked and uptempo beats, Outkast influenced and densely-literate verses, and the crooning of an indie-diva. This time around, the quartet departs slightly from their strictly socio-political invective of 2006's As If We Exist in favor of more tame (and less audience alienating) material. Make no mistake, SwamBurger gets his point across eloquently and poetically, dropping rapid-fire lines over 6/8 passages and enough titular interpretation to shake a stick at. Indeed, drawing up a dedication to the late Dilla on "Death of the Muse" embodies the very essence of No More Heroes; Chali 2na, J-Live, and Ma Dukes herself lend their presence to an otherwise brilliantly executed post-Dilla joint. This isn't some phoned in dedication cashing in on a dying fad - it's definitely a touching representation of the man's impact on the genre and what artists need to do to channel that inspiration. DaViNCi's role here is paramount, providing multi-sourced productions - horns, soul, The Prodigy reminscient techno of "Gotham City Chase Scene", it's all here.
What is truly amazing about the SoS collective is the simple creative synergy between each quadrant - with indie-pop vocal sensibilities, minor key tonality, and electro boom-bap, sometimes the rapping is merely the icing on the cake. The formula here never gets old, with repeated listens demanded. A lyrically potent, melodic, and danceable piece, make sure to cop one of the best records the year has to offer.
haven't heard the dj quik/ kurupt joint rudy, didn't really pique my interest when i read about it. seemed like another "ya hey we're old school, but now we need more money" joint. i'll check it out though.
glad you dug it lucidity, i know you're not the biggest hip-hop aficionado, so that speaks volumes. there's really not a single track i can't stand on here, save for the laughable poetry at the end.