Review Summary: Even if the rest of the world does not share that, divine perspective, we cannot help being fascinated by these…messengers from outer space.
A binary star is a system of two stars that revolve around their common center of mass. One Be Lo (formerly known as OneManArmy) and Senim Silla (all is mine, backwards) are the two stars that formed Binary Star. The two rappers from Pontiac, Michigan met in 1993. The two were inseparable, and eventually robbed a local pizza parlor together in May 1994. They were caught, and were each sentenced to three to twenty years in prison. Senim Silla was sent upstate, and One Be Lo was sent to a prison in the lower part of Michigan. But in 1998, One Be Lo was transferred to Hiawatha Correctional Facility, the same prison as Senim Silla, and there, they cleaned up their act, and the rest was history.
The two rappers don’t really differ from one another that much in terms of styles, each possessing clear delivery, solid (but at times complex) flows, and middle-of-the-tone-spectrum voices, Senim’s being slightly higher, which is the distinguishable feature. But that’s just fine because their lyrics more than compensate for little to no variation in style. Because they possess the knowledge of underprivileged youths that made mistakes, Silla and Lo are able to deliver this album with a feel that many other rappers aren’t able to provide, “grab a telescope and you’ll see my view is like astronomy.” Their street life experiences enforce their conscious and wise lyrics, “I got confined at 17, young and naïve/Dashed in to a world with killers robbers and thieves/Cramped in an eight man cell with ten cats/Eight on the bunks and three on just mats.” As well as their hilarious lyrics, both popping up everywhere throughout the album, “See I’m strategic/I let your money talk bull***, walk while I keep it rollin’ like paraplegics/Who ever on the microphone/Let it be known/You in danger/I got next like the Boston strangler/You ain’t never heard an MC speak like this/And Rodney King ain’t never felt a beat like this.” And, just as they claim, Senim Silla and One Be Lo are truly on a different level than the ‘fake MCs’ denounce, “And I won’t hesitate to embarrass ya/Cuz on the mic you do little, like Eddie Murphy’s character,” “Rhyme after rhyme, it’s the same topic/What make you think you hardcore cuz you grew up in the projects?” Every track is a gem full of lyrical prowess exhibited by Lo and Silla.
And from being an alternative, underground rap group, it’s surprising that they have good production to pair with their awesome lyrics. While being more on the lo fi end of the scale, the frequent piano sampling (Reality Check, Indy 500, Glen Close) is down pat and the old movie sampling for intros is ace. They do a great job of syncing up their rapping with the mood of the production. The story telling songs Glen Close and Wolf Man Jack have beats perfectly suited to the rapping of Lo and Silla, each getting darker as the lyrics do, on the other end of the theme scale the happy-go-lucky trumpet beat of Conquistadors is perfectly suited for the happy-go-lucky rapping of Binary Star. Most underground lyricists suffer from an ear for beats full of wax, but Binary Star's production selection is B+, albeit not the best ever.
The lyrical prowess and wisdom displayed by Binary Star takes you on a journey throughout Masters of the Universe. Masters of the Universe is an underground cult classic that should definitely be checked out by any hip-hop fan. Even if the rest of the world does not share that, divine perspective, we cannot help being fascinated by these…messengers from outer space.