Review Summary: Getting older, wiser and better - Ill Bill at the top of his game.
If you’re familiar with the work of Mc Ill Bill, - whether it’s with La Coka Nostra
, the amazing Non Phixion
or his solo career – you’ll soon find yourself in familiar grounds while listening to his latest efforts. The Grimy Awards
got in fact every single elements that make his style so unique from the political charge themes of his lyrics to the hardcore aggressiveness that emerge from most songs on the records. On this one however, he manages to blend his entire influence and personality in a mature and unforgettable way in what is probably his best work since the release of Non Phixion
’s masterpiece The Future is Now
back in 2002.
First of all, The Grimy Awards
clearly feels like a solo effort for Ill Bill who has had his great moments a couple time as part of some collectives. Even if he’s release a couple of albums as a solo artist, I think he’s now really at the peak of his creative talent. Like on his precedent effort, The Hour of Reprisal
, we see the respect that the guy got from the industry with feat. From Cormega
, Jedi Mind Tricks
. Songs like 120% Darkside Justice
with Jedi Mind Tricks
is a perfect match of style where the aggressiveness is multiplied by ten with the style well known of both Mcs. When I Die
is also an interesting take at an alternative mood for the rapper with the beautiful voice of Tia Thomas and it definitely works well. However, some songs don't quite deliver, like Power
with the great Cormega
, because we feel like Ill Bill wants to give place to his collaborators by making concessions on his style. When he keeps control of the song, like in Acceptance Speech for instance, the result is however amazing.
It’s on the track that he performs alone that we see the quality and matureness of Ill Bill. Both Canarsie High
and How to Survive the Apocalypse
rank high up in the great career of Ill Bill.with their great lyrics perfectly delivered. If there is one track that stands out though is the mind-blowing Exploding Octopus
. How guts does one have to write a song about the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski? He does it in a way that is so honest, raw and intelligent that he deserves endless respect. He tells the story, raise questions but doesn’t lecture anyone about it. This songs is truly mesmerizing and is more than one of the best he’s ever done.
The honesty of Ill Bill is always something that has struck me, and it is especially true with this last records. You really feel in every songs that he really care about what he’s singing and that there’s things he wants to say. Even if it’s sometime clumsy, cheesy or imperfect, when Ill bill delivers, he does it in a way that is moving and touching and that make this record real and powerful.
That being said, the album nonetheless feel dense because of that, not necessarily in time but more in subject matters. It will indeed take a couple of listen to start to digest all the themes of the record. However, with the way that the songs are place one after another, it doesn’t feel like too much half way through and, as it is often the case in hardcore hip hop, this doesn’t feel like a take it or leave it record. Ill Bill manage to hook every type of rap fan and this is what make this record unforgettable.