Review Summary: The Journey has sadly come to an end, but CunninLynguists aren't going down without ripping out some brilliant cuts
And so as the first part of the journey ends in the mechanic's with the group being told it will cost 555 dollars to fix their beloved van , the second part of the journey continues as the trio ride off with the mechanic's own vehicle, after offering an insufferable amount of cash. The journey so far has been exciting, tragic and oddly enjoyable, but the team hasn’t finished what they started.
As the intro fades out, Kno gives us a soothing extract of King Neptune beat-boxing before pausing and then starting with a puissant beat that rings authoritatively and introduces the latest efforts from Natti. The rhymes are faster, sleeker than the rhymes in ‘Volume One’. But it isn't until the second verse till we see the encapsulation of 'Volume Two' in a hard verse by featured artist Freddie Gibbs. Gibbs absolutely rips his verse, Providing the obvious highlight for 'Volume Two'. He is a talented wordsmith spitting lines like: "Then left me for dead, dog, so he could push the pussy pink Sonic the Hedghog" and “the ghetto’s just infested with felons, so whether it’s the fuzz or the thugs, now you under surveillance”.
Already, it is feeling like the second journey might rival the first as the second rhyme, The W.W.K.Y.A tour
, kicks off with an oddly exuberant beat contrasted with the fast and uncontrolled rhyme that gives us great lines such as "by eight o'clock , Larry's girlfriend had ate a c*ck, paid a cop, just to stand by the van and made him watch" and the classy line “Teach hoes to deep throat, wear ‘em like meatcoats”. Extraordinarily, the journey's theme is lost in the second volume as not much is said about what happens to the trio as they travel. The same issues arise as in 'Volume One' such as rascism, extensive drug use and law enforcement corruption or pure hatred. It was definitely worth expanding on such themes talked about in the intro to 'Strange Journey Volume One' ("They might not know your face but they know your music") although this is not talked about in 'Volume Two'.
Unfortunately, the excellent start to the album is not carried on throughout the length of the album as the group deliver some worryingly average tracks such as the embarrassing ballad, Tear Trax
. Themed on a sister in an abusive relationship, the track is annoying production-wise and includes some equally poor rhymes with such cringe-worthy lines as "I know it's hard being alone, but his knuckles is harder". Other tracks try to pull-off that warped unconventional sound that worked so wonderfully on old tracks such as 'Southernunderground's' Old School
. The track Cocaine
is guilty of this beat-fraud, and it doesn't work as well as it used to, creating a track that is so loud and superfluous that it's difficult to listen to the rhymes, and we only hear sporadically spat lines such as "put the coke in your cola" and "in the war against drugs, you can f*ck all the soldiers". Other tracks are just plain unmemorable, and it is immediately evident that volume one of the journey held the bulk of the good production ideas.
While the live version of the CunninLynguists eponymous and trademark track, Linguistics
was performed well on the Strange Journey Volume One, in Volume Two, the trio has tackled the glorious and brilliant track, Nothing To Give
, from the critically acclaimed 'A Piece of Strange' album with poorer results. Deacon sounds much more distant and the fragile sound on the studio version is now mistaken for bad production.
There are however some other great tracks such as Heart
and The Park
which restore faith in this talented group. It is however a very good hip-hop album and a great follow-up for their progeny looking for more after being impressed by ‘Volume One’. And when the journey is complete, we can sit back and be relieved that this ever-consistent group has provided two full-length albums worth of exulting material.
Cunninlynguists’ “Strange Journey Volume Two” is out 3rd November, 2009 via QN5 Music
Note: The review for the other half of the journey can be found here: