Review Summary: Completely unique
The story of Canibus is the stuff of legend in the underground hip-hop scene, from Sensation to Cani-Bust. A rising star in the rap community, Canibus put out two fairly solid releases, that showcased his incredible talent with words, but suffered from lacklustre production and really just felt restrained. Then came his first dip, with C True Hollywood Stories, before he hit what was the peak period of his career. Mic Club: The Curriculum and Rip The Jacker are considered to be two absolutely essential rap albums, with the latter often being elevated as the finest album in his career. From then on, Canibus pretty much fell off the map, slowly frozen out of the industry and people often turned their back due to his skill at calling out other rappers and bad mouthing them.
Mic Club: The Curriculum, in my opinion, is where Canibus hit his lyrical peak. This is an example of hip-hop at its absolute purest, without attempting to mask its weak element with poor choruses and hooks. Mic Club contains over 1000 bars throughout its 55 minute, 13 track duration, and only three of the songs even have a chorus at all. This album also contains three guest appearances, and a fourth off of Canibus's alter ego, Rip The Jacker.
The songs are sheer mind-blowing from front to back. It is clear right from the off that Canibus possesses a near unmatched lyrical talent, that many people can only drool over. Following the brief intro track that STILL contains some incredibly hot lyrics, we launch straight into one of the most popular songs off of the album, Poet Laureate. This song was so popular amongst the underground rap community that there was even a 7 minute follow-up to it on the following album, Rip the Jacker. Poet Laureate contains some unbelievable multi-syllabics and possibly the most complex rhyme structure ever found in a song to date.
Skimming through the tracks, Bis Vs Rip is another of the highlights. This song addresses Canibus's high profile feud with Eminem, which became so famous that Eminem wrote a song named Can-I-Bitch. This is Canibus at his best, using what made him famous to create a timeless classic. Canibus started out as a battle rapper through his songs on his first album, such as Second Round K.O. aimed at LL Cool J, and this shows how much he has evolved since that song. The rhymes are as tight as they come, Bis's flow is untouched, and the lyrics are utterly savage. This is how a rap song should be written.
Behind Enemy Rhymes is another song that really deserves singling out. This contains the freshest beats on the album and some fantastic lyrics to go along with them. Canibus sounds possessed on this song, injecting fresh venom into his voice to allow him to really express himself. This song is the absolute best Canibus had put out to date, and would still only ever be topped by Genabis off of Rip The Jacker.
The beats on this album frequently come under some criticism. They are considered to be a huge step up from Canibus's earliest albums, but still too same-y with not enough going for them. This is the real problem with this album, as they really do get tedious towards the end. The beats are just there on this album for the sake of keeping a time, and it could probably work even better without them.
Lyrically and flow-wise, this is virtually untouchable. Canibus achieved a feat that is incredibly rare in music, and created something utterly unique. Every aspect of his flow and style is completely fresh, and the scary thing is that he would go on to create an even better album following this, albeit with slightly weaker lyrics. This album is one of the few rap albums that i consider to be close to perfect, and really does deserve the praise it gets. 4.5/5