Review Summary: The Perils deliver another east-coast rap record but without the mediocrity and lukewarm production.
I don’t consider myself a major fan of the east coast spectrum of hip-hop. See, I love Wu-Tang, Nas and the other old schoolers, but most east coast hip-hop/rap, especially out of NY, is either a laughable rehash of the aforementioned artists or just another mealy-mouthed battle rapper with nothing to say (looking at you Busta Rhymes). Twin Perils may follow these kinds of sensibilities, but they pull it off better than 95% of most modern artists. I actually find these guys getting better and better with each project. They have solid flows, listenable voices and some interesting beat work. Speak and Destroy
is a culmination of everything the group has improved upon and more. Twin Perils are finally marking their place on the far-reaching map that is hip-hop music, and it couldn’t be better.
Okay let’s start with the basics; Twin Perils is an east coast, Wu-Tang style group with an actual military veteran in the group. They follow the typical east coast tropes and idioms, but they pull it off better than most of the other artists today. Take the track Bomb Shelter
for example; at first it sounds typical, but you notice the little subtle differences in there, like the way June’s verse has the end couplets of his bars matching the harder drum beats while Lone Ninja smoothly rides it on the second verse. The track sounds tinny at first, but then the grimy synthesizers and wicked strings come in and just class things up. Most of this is due in part to the production of emcee June Marx, who takes the east coast template, gives it a little acid, and then flips it on its head. The opening track opens with ominous horns that slowly get bombastic and in comes a wave of bad-trip synths and head-pounding drums. This is true craft right here. Marx has only gotten more talented behind the boards and I’d like to see more of his beats put on with different styles of rappers, like Big K.R.I.T. or Z-Ro. Marx’s skill behind the boards is evident also on Wrath of Heaven
, which has an atmospheric, Asian-esque beat, and Bioshock
which gets really hard.
Of course, it’s hard not to review an east coast album without mentioning the masterful emceeing. These guys have improved so much in the 3 years they’ve been releasing music together. Lone Ninja finally demonstrates his ability to ride a beat with his MF Doom-esque voice and slow phrasing. Originally, I had trouble listening to Lone because his flow was always a second behind or ahead of the beat but he finally demonstrates the skills he suppressed for so long. June has also gotten better, showcasing some wicked rhythms and unique phrasing. Forbidden City
is the perfect example of this; Marx takes a simple flow and twists it around and messes with the syllables. The same goes for Lone as well, who does the same thing but in his own way,
Speak and Destroy
is simply too long for its own good. After a while, especially near the end, it tends to drone on for a little while unless you’re seriously paying attention. If they could cut the amount of tracks down and make some of the songs longer, then it would be just fine really. I’d say 13 tracks would be a nice trim down for this, especially because nobody likes listening to extremely long hip-hop albums, unless they are hyped beyond belief. And that brings me to my next and final point about promotion.
What I’m trying to say here is that Twin Perils have a major future ahead of them if they can just get their music pushed out there. It’s all pretty decent save for a few missteps, but it’s the lack of promotion going around and the constant album delays that keep Perils from getting into the big leagues with other rappers. Sure it promotes the underground, but when the underground has promotion that eclipses yours, isn’t it time to put yourself out there? Speak and Destroy
is a perfectly decent, hard-hitting hip-hop record, it just needs a lot more promotion behind it.