Review Summary: An excellent sophomore release from the production half of Twin Perils.
Hip-Hop has put out some of its best works in 2010. Big Boi released a redefining album, Odd Future have been innovating Hip-Hop and pushing the boundaries of what makes our stomachs churn, Das Racist have brought humor back to Hip-Hop, and Dark Time Sunshine bring a little of the artsy side of the music. So it’s only suitable that June Marx pushes his own limits as well. Core of Vengeance really shows off his strengths as a producer and a rapper. He brings a classic, East-Coast style of rap and applies it to the underground Hip-Hop formula. His last album, Body of God
, lack a good mixing job and got somewhat repetitive near the end. Core of Vengeance attempts to rectify those mistakes, and for the most part, it does the job.
June sticks to a formula throughout here, consisting of multi-syllabic flows, complex lyricism and hard-hitting East Coast style beats. To this formula though, a few changes have been made. The production isn’t as “hardcore” as before, and that makes it a little more accessible. For instance he mixes in the sounds of loud, orchestral horns with pounding drums and bass and other songs have a sort of catchy keyboard melody riding throughout. Many of the songs ride on mid-paced beats, with nothing too fast or nothing too slow. This compliments June’s gritty, hushed voice and unique rhyme schemes. While there is a formula present for both the rapping and the beats, some songs use different styles of music as the base for their production. For instance Poison Ivy
is a bass-heavy track with influences of 70’s-funk, and Trinity Site
yields a complex piano melody with Eastern-sounding scales and arpeggios throughout. Basically, the production has improved a lot since the last album, possibly making June a go to guy for Hip-Hop production.
As I mentioned earlier, the rapping is decent enough, but June shows no real improvement in the rapping department. This is the same flow and cadence you heard on Body Of God
and Word Supremacy
. The delivery is adequate enough, but it’s hard to compare to last CD’s when not much has changed. Vocal-wise, what did change, however, was the lyricism. No longer has June limited his self to militaristic, battle-rap heavy lyrics, instead choosing to combine that with a sense of storytelling not usually seen in East Coast Hip-Hop anymore. The song Brooklyn Bridge
is a highlight, where June tells stories about the gritty streets of New York, and then there’s Poison Ivy
, which seems to be a typical tale of deceitful women. Other topics include politics, and as mentioned before, battle raps. The lyrical content has greatly improved for only a 6 month time period.
What makes Core of Vengeance an even better release than his last is that the mix of the record has improved greatly. The vocals are no longer buried beneath the music and the beats are upfront and hard hitting. What made Body of God hard to listen to was the bad mix, a problem that plagued many other HPR releases. Those mistakes have been rectified and for the most part it worked. It made Lone Ninja’s barely tolerable monotone listenable and it made Lord Gamma outshine June on his own track. The mastering just ended up being pretty good. As for the guest spots, there are 5 of them, but there is little variation and we’ve all seen them before. A few new collaborators might have helped boost this Cd up a score.
Core of Vengeance is a damn fine Hip-Hop release. While it won’t make any best of all time or even best of 2010 lists, it’s still an excellent record and deserves a listen. An excellent sophomore release that followed through on its improvements but kept a few things the same, Core of Vengeance is definitely worth your music-listening time.