Kno
Death Is Silent


4.5
superb

Review

by lobby USER (14 Reviews)
October 18th, 2010 | 319 replies | 34,093 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Stepping out from behind the boards to immortalize the CunninLynguists' legacy

Hooray. Kno finally decided to craft a solo album after being heavily petitioned by the loyal fan-base of his choicely named hip hop group; Cunninlynguists. It’s of no surprise that after last year’s terrific Strange Journey releases, the next hip hop album floating to the top from the Cunninlynguists moniker would kick ass. The producer, known for his grimy, rampant southern-style beats, is in full control, pouring a healthy amount of dissonance and acid-flaying synths into a darker, emotional venture into life and death. And for the first time since 2003’s SouthernUnderground, he’s picked up the mic again to deliver more witty, punchline rhymes. Fans of the group, throw your guns in the air, for Death is Silent brings this respected producer to new heights of turntabalism and lyrical dexterity. It is an effort that outshines the masterful albums that brought CL to fame, and stands to become among the top hip hop albums of the century.

From the album cover, tracklist and concept, genre mashing tendencies tell us that this will be the spawning of ‘emo-rap’. Fear not, because til Fiddy realizes he has more chance of utilizing his talents by picking strawberries than rhyming, and cries an album about it, we won’t hear of this horrible genre title. The soundtrack aims for a depressing, soulful adventure that explores the shadow that death casts over us. Crudely, it is warning us that death is a bitch. At the crux of the album is a message that death is inevitable and creating life is only a way of averting the true purpose of living: to make the most of what we have already.

With CL-related releases, an instrumental version of the studio release is always mandatory because the album can always stand as a piece of art with beats alone. Let’s just say, this time round, Kno has exceeded his best experimentations, crafting a glorious entry into the vaults of instrumental hip hop fame. No sh*t. The production here is exceptional. You wouldn’t think so from the first couple of tracks, but when the album starts flipping through the many highlights, the masterpiece will be unveiled. Loneliness is Kno’s biggest bassline which sounds like the best thing he’s done since A Piece of Strange’s “Beautiful Girl”. Expectations are immediately exceeded on the next two tracks, both released as singles. La Petite Mort (Come Die With Me) is Kno’s way of showing he is in full control when he rhymes both sublime verses. The first single, and the second track in a row to send shivers up your spine, Rhythm of the Rain, plays Spanish guitar, crisp drums and guitar-slides as Thee Tom Hardy and Tunji spit beautiful rhymes with earnest and conviction. Tunji kills a verse that would rival any other delivery on the album: “Wintertime – one sweater/Dinnertime – crumbs fed us/I sit and think about the wisdom that I’ve gained/Reminiscin as I listen to the rhythm of the rain” It’s going to be hard to say, but after two full length CL albums and many other guest verses, Kno has nailed his best verse right here. Sleek rhymes and apt analogies abound, the verse will stand as a benchmark for the rest of his material.

The bar has been set too high for the rest of the release with the first half of the album terminating with Smile, providing a groovy instrumental freshening as a quick way to trial a smooth, jazzy hip hop sound with drums that should be talked about forever. Natti’s verse on If You Cry has been nailed to no surprise, and Deacon is solid as he features on Spread You Wings.

The second half kicks off to the tune of frantic pipes and psybient base licks, as Kno spits “She don’t swallow/That claim’s preposterous/Let’s just say she has a populous esophagus” on Graveyard. They Told Me and When I Was Young wallow in magnificently chill synths, with the former invoking ex-weed addicts to flick their wristbands as we are taken to an ethereal landscape of sinking, tropical beaches as the ocean tests out the boards. Deacon the Villain opens up about where his life is heading, and Kno speaks of his childhood troubles on the latter - “Didn’t know my father, at least not sober” A lighter side is taken, on the final rhyme, Not at the End reminiscent of Kno’s direction on the Strange Journey series. The track is friggin’ addictive, planting limericks of fun-loving nostalgia into our heads as Kno has a bit of fun “Yeah, I’m here now/There’s nothing to feel now/One day you will die/So I’m killing the year round” Tonedeff, another QN5 riser, spills stories of his childhood on one of the greatest verses of the album, namely I Wish I was Dead. It’s sad as f*ck, and it’s a rhyme that would feel so forced on any album other than this. “And I wait for the light at the end of the tunnel, until it hits me, and it was a train.” As one of the stronger tracks on the album, the song is marred by Kno’s readin’-a-diary style verse, which is by far his weakest on the album. However, the beat is a flawless freefall into space-time, Psychedelic Ambient-esque phantasms, with an incredible deep, dirty, southern beat meets Mary-Jane madness.

They tend to be an incestuous bunch at QN5, and most rappers (even those we haven’t heard before) appearing on the tracks do not fail in providing the same unrestrained honesty as they pull on our heart strings, verse after verse. As a lyricist, Kno is probably not given the credit he deserves, plucking lines of gold such as “Tell Mother Nature she can blow on the wind and choke on my kids” and “The clouds break and I can tell it’s over/‘Cause she’s my sunshine but I’m catching melanoma”. Appearances by Deacon the Villain and Natti on at least two tracks each, along with the stylistic production reminiscent of A Piece of Strange lead you to believe that this is a CL release. And why shouldn’t it be? It has the same production, emcees, guest performers, yet it oozes with a dark foreboding never heard on any other CL release. Although Kno was right in saying this album would sound nothing like any other CL material, the level of emotional maturity conveyed in the lyrics and delivery beg for your devoted attention as the rappers bleed their souls out to the listener. It dabbles in Kno’s witty streak vested in his earlier works, but is dwarfed by the deep personal bond he establishes with the listener - “Wish you could see Atlanta/Wish you could see your Nana/Wish you could see that I believe that we should be together”

As the last instrumental track concludes, “It’s one life to live, so do the best you can.” Any time, we can fall victim, being left with nothing and taken from everything. Therefore, we must live our life and look to the future and the joys that life provides us. Kno is ready for it. Because it’s about time we all woke up.

Kno’s “Death is Silent” is out 12th October, 2010 via QN5 Music



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Chart.
3.9
excellent
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Qwe Qwetherington (2.5)
Having provided his trio with his consistently impressive production since 2001, Cunninlynguists' be...


Comments:Add a Comment 
lobby
October 18th 2010


1251 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So pretty much my first 4.5 I’ve ever given to a hip hop album and easily my favourite of the year. It’s absolutely amazing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it became one of the top albums of the year on sputnik if only you guys gave it a chance.

Not convinced? Give Rhythm of the Rain a go:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nueG0jLMFA


StreetlightRock
Emeritus
October 18th 2010


3767 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sounds good. Epic review.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

BallsToTheWall
October 18th 2010


44300 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

What he said. Will look into.

Digging: Tiamat - Clouds

PorkchopExpress
October 18th 2010


387 Comments


I agree 100%. It's joining Black Milk, Big Boi, and the new Roots as best hip-hop of 2010 for me.

Time
October 18th 2010


81 Comments


only ever listened to A Piece of Strange which I love, I'll check this out

ComfortablyDumb
October 18th 2010


395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yesssss this is pretty much the only thing I've been listening to over the past week.

every song on here is killer, even the instrumental tracks


Kno put the entire album up on CL's bandcamp page, where you can stream it in full or pay $9 for a digital download:

http://cunninlynguists.bandcamp.com/album/death-is-silent


no excuses not to give this a listen!

Inveigh
October 18th 2010


24963 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this sounds awesome, good review

Digging: YOB - Clearing The Path To Ascend

xfearbefore
October 18th 2010


1245 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review, sounds good, I'll have to check this out. Congrats on the featured review.

Scenegirlsdontbang
October 18th 2010


106 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Heard nothing but good things about this, going to check out

BobbbyLight
October 18th 2010


65 Comments


I think this is album of the year for me. I've fallen out of love with hip-hop and rap as I become older but everything that Kno touches is gold.

xfearbefore
October 18th 2010


1245 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Damn this shit is really, really good. "La Petite Mort" and "Rhythm of the Rain" are crazy good.

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
October 18th 2010


7106 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

pretty excited to listen when i get home, awesome review.

xfearbefore
October 18th 2010


1245 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah some of the verses on this are absolutely sick, just finished listening to it from start to finish and I'm incredibly impressed, the beats are dark and mesmerizing, and the overall concept of the album being about death is a pretty strong and identifiable theme throughout, which gives it bonus points in my eyes. This is right up there with Big Boi and Black Milk's albums for best hip-hop album of 2010 thus far in my eyes and that's only off of one listen.

Bitchfork
October 18th 2010


7584 Comments


I'd try putitng song titles in quotes but this is a fantastic review. I just despise bolding song titles.

BallsToTheWall
October 18th 2010


44300 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Already love this.

Enotron
October 18th 2010


7695 Comments


agree with b4k 100% the bold looks awful

lobby
October 18th 2010


1251 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

really? I find its easier for ppl who dont really want to read the whole things but want to see what was said about their favourite songs.

NP: OMG, first feature!!!! There's no reason now this shouldn't get the attention it deserves. CL ftw

Idnuf
October 18th 2010


1491 Comments


Waiting for the physical release to come out. I pledged to not listen to any tracks that weren't singles until I actually bought the album out of respect for QN5. They're surely the best thing going on in hip-hop right now, and are in financial trouble right now so anyone who downloads this and loves it should go out and support these guys. I recommend also listening to Kokayi's new album as well and buying it. Also, great review.

Scoot
October 18th 2010


17749 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yep, this is amazing.

Enotron
October 18th 2010


7695 Comments


i mean whatevs its your review, congrats on the feature



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