Review Summary: An amazing hip hop album full of blazing, dark beats and major whiffs of Canibus's metaphor magic.
Some albums move people in ways unheard of before, at least in their lively hood. These albums remain in their hearts for life, and keep the company whenever needed. For me, one of those albums is Canibus’ Rip the Jacker. But unlike most albums considered of such a title, Rip the Jacker was an incredibly unexpected masterpiece. Canibus, while on his way to the army, made a recording of all of his rappings between the times after he released Mic Club until the beginning of his army training. He would send these recordings to Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind and would ask him to string these recordings into an album. Up to the task as usual, Stoupe backed the tracks with his usual idealism and sampling mastery, and crafted the perfect beats for Canibus. The combination of some of Canibus’ most ironically inspired rhymes and well-crafted production work made Canibus’s best album yet: Rip the Jacker.
The album starts out with “Intro”, an introduction to the ferocity that is Canibus. It gives off clear warning about Bis, or on this album, The Ripper, ‘he began rearranging the meager possessions of his victims in weird patterns’. A combination of violin samples and war drums with Stoupe’s frightening lecture samples make for an interesting 33 seconds that leads perfectly into “Genabis”. “Genabis” is delightfully different from the “Intro” though, bringing out a dark yet spacy atmosphere out from Stoupe’s hat, effectively backing The Ripper’s fierce rapping. Skipping over the classically grandioso “Levitibus” and spooky “M-Sea-Creasy”, we meet up with Canibus’s first successful attempt at storytelling “No Return”. “No Return” has three different storys, one sci-fi fantasy about escaping the earth, one conversational story about finally finding a beat maker, but then getting shot up at a drug store, and then one about Canibus going into a burning building to save a woman, but then waking up and never seeing her again.
Skinning over some details and a song, we move onward to “Indispensible”, one of the albums only singles. With reason too, the song has a grooving reggae-fused bounce to it, while remaining overly obscure and bleak. “Indispensible” leads into the odd island circus sounding “Showtime at the Gallows”, where Canibus talks about his influence and how he slays rappers, being the track most similar of his past material. After this, the beats and rhymes take a notable upward turn in quality but a downward turn in emotion. Not in the way of lack of emotion, but in the way that the emotions are much more depressing. “Pysch Evaluation” takes use of St. Anger-like drums in the chorus, giving it the evil atmosphere that Metallica probably wanted, but couldn’t deliver. “Cemantics” has layers upon layers of sampled orchestration, making the listener feel like they are in a perfect storm…
But none of those tracks would live up “Poet Laureate II”, an amazing concept track. The concept with this one is this: Canibus observes the “Poet Laureate” Rip The Jacker, both through his rhymes “Your competency is not up to speed, you not in my league/you couldnt possibly be hotter than me/Or oppositely you're minus 25 degrees, you'd squeeze/but the condensation makes rifle barrels freeze”, and through his idealism “Yo, why is the ripper so ill?/That would be a unpardonable breach of confidence for me to reveal!/He said one day all eyes would be on me/when they look up in the sky and see the neon 'C'”. With the change of focus come changes in beat. The song has 3 different beats, one opera-epic beat like those of 2000 B.C except without the poor production technique, one keyboard-focused jazzy beat, and one horn solo put to a beat. Surprisingly enough, each beat change is perfectly suited, and just when you get tired of one, it switches to another. You get a feeling of finish when the jazz solo beat switches back to the first opera-epic. The album ends on the same note that it began, with a sampled lecture from a scholar of some sort.
Rip the Jacker is an amazing album that even the critics that doubted Canibus couldn’t ignore. Rip the Jacker has seen wild acclaim from just about every place that has reviewed it, and nearly everyone that has heard it has gone out a happy customer. The album even revived Canibus’ commerciality somewhat, it was the first album by Canibus since 2000 B.C. to have charted (at #194). Still, Canibus would be left in the dark for the most part, still unknown by most and scoffed at major hip hop heads. It is a shame too, because if they had heard Rip the Jacker, their minds would have changed in a snap.