Reviewer:- Obinna “Fazillion” Ifechi-Fred
C.A.B:- Rapping My Fucking Ass Off
Artiste: – Lyrikal
Record Label:- Xcel Records
Guest Appearances: – Kokormikor and Eva Alordiah
Production Credits:- Spontaneous Beatz, Rapsom, M.H.P, Veteran, Fair Face, And Big Heat
Release Date:- March 13 2013
Critical Album Breakdown
If you don’t know Lyrikal, and you’re a Student of Nigerian hip-Hop, you need to go back and dig the Crates,Its as simple as that, Lyrikal was a pioneering member of Port Harcourt city’s answer to Wu-Tang clan, Tuck Tyght , a collective comprising of MC’s like Lyrikal, Double K, Mack Gee, Andre Blaze, Damage, Veteran, and a whole lot of affiliates. They opened up the floodgates of the City to Hip-Hop. He and his compadres put the city on the Hip-Hop Map with their self titled compilation Album they dropped sometime in 2004-2005, shortly after the crew Disbanded ( just like every Nigerian Rap Group ) and everyone went his separate ways, the most prominent of the lot being Andre Blaze who is now a Media Personality in Lagos, but the rest of the crew are still rhyme slingers, Lyrikal included, after a brief hiatus, he emerges as a solo act in 2013 on Xcel Records with the 17 track Rapping my fucking ass off Mixtape.
With no Intro, Lyrikal gets straight to Business on the first Track Undiluted, which was performed over the instrumental of Till It’s Over by Drake, he went in on this one spitting Pardon my intrusion, my fusion of knowledge and rhythm / I feel like I’m exactly what the Rap game been Missing / follow my vocals, not my deeds, my brutal intentions / you’re condescending, I’m faceless, I’m really not sending”, bars like these created the atmosphere for the rest of the mixtape, he continues his braggadocio on the next track Better than the rest , a record that samples Girl you know its true by Milli Vanilli, and sounds every inch like a Radio single, despite his confidence , he addresses his doubts and fears in the game rapping I hear my times coming, I Don’t know what to believe / I wanna blow forever, I never wanna leave / My sharp guy Instincts is telling me invest / cuz you got mad skills and you better than the rest, and finally ends the song with the consolation that he’s the best MC In the land.Next Lyrikal steps into the dark side on the apylt titled Warning, produced by Rapsom and samples Lacrimosa by Mozart, the record is dark and eerie,not to mention Lyrikal blacked out on this one, spitting sporadic rap bars that would get the most core of Rap heads bobbing their heads in ecstacy.the next song Edikwansa brings the mixtape sound all the way home, as it samples the Theme song of the 80’s hit Television series New masquerade, originally performed by Dan Orji and the peacock Band, Producer Rapsom flips the sample in a unique way, Lyrikal once more does what he does , this time with a mixture of memories , anger and venom, he pays homage to the Roots of Hip-Hop culture, Time to acknowledge / the legends, the Vets now pay homage / the things that we learnt from Music and not college / Ebonics, G-Funk Era, Dres Chronic, and gives a little bit of Advice to upcoming Rappers I keep telling Youngn’s , here’s what you do to be great / you need to study History, You need to learn from Mistakes / write your own lyrics, don’t be afraid to be you / even if your shits wack, you know you can improve / There’s too many tryna blow, they don’t know what it takes / One hit Wonders, Instead of all time greats”, an advice I Feel a whole lot of Nigerian Rappers need to absorb
By now I’m lost in the Hip-Hop journey , and I’m enjoying the listening experience that brings me to the next track Places To Go where he goes off over the MHP Produced instrumental,on this he is keen not to be distracted by the Pitfalls in the game, says hes gonna do him regardless and keep chasing his goal. Only two guests are on this Tape, and the first one Kokormikor surfaces on the next cut E Don Tey, another avenue for Lyrikal to address his inner thoughts, Fears, as well as talk to God, its three introspective verses where he talks about how he started in the game, the demons that haunt him, his dead friends and other deep thoughts, the Hook was well suited by kokor, it’s definitely a song that would send your mind down the thoughtful lane. He recovers from his thoughtfulness and runs over a DJ Premier instrumental next on Life is what you make it ,for 93 seconds he gets his braggadocio on and also took shots at an unnamed “Number One Rapper” while he was at it. Sometimes we cry, sometimes we celebrate, and it’s all about the latter on Good Times, the next track which has Lyrikal reminiscing on the when things go smooth, and friends sit around to chat,drink and have fun, it’s laced with a soulful instrumental produced by Fair Face and lives up to its billing. A Skit comes next, On Each other, An excerpt from 2004 American Movie Something The Lord Made , which ends with the Phrase “All poor people ever have is each other” He continues the theme on the last song on Filthy Fucking Rich, this one didn’t go down well with me, especially the Hook which sounded dull and dated, however Lyrikal continued his Boasts and Brags on this one, which in my opinion is the most forgettable song on the Tape. Show Skillz would have been a better song had he gotten someone else to sing the Hook, It didn’t blend well with this Track, where he plays the role of a Teacher schooling a new generation and once more castigating phony and fake Rappers. The Oath suddenly rescues the lack-lustre Choruses on the last 2 tracks, it’s my best track on the Tape, and basically an open letter to his ex Band Mates Tuck Tyght members and his Fans as well, and he addressed a lot of issues that made the crew fall apart, he didn’t end without telling them he still has love for them all, It’s a heartfelt song and the Boom-Bap instrumental does very well to add the utmost spice to the song. Merciless features Eva Alordiah and comes next over a thumping bass-line, both MC’s basically run riot over the beat, Rapping their asses out ( no pun ) and Eva spat with so much Venom and trailed closely behind Lyrikal on this one. Ticking me off provides Lyrikal another avenue to vent, and he does just that spitting You leave me no choice, I gotta be Candid / Got me F’ed up now to you I gotta hand it / Never saw it coming, this isn’t how I planned it / My crew disbanded, for a moment there I was stranded” once more hinting that the breakup of Tuck Tyght really affected him, it’s another stellar cut on the Tape laced by a Boom-Bap instrumental produced by MHP.I Thought the Next Skit Heaven is a Tad bit too long, and d didn’t fit into the Mixtape , before the main track Heaven comes in , A Love song where He outlines the kind of woman he likes, and also some choice love lines and stories about/for the girl of his dreams, It was laced with a soulful instrumental also produced by MHP. His greatest moment of sober reflection ends the Mixtape on The last track Survive where he once more raps about his struggles, his crew ( again ) and his journey From Port-Harcourt to Lagos, family problems that he had to resolve, and eventually ends on a high note talking about his new label situation with Xcel records, its another sullen track that ends on a sombre note, and also has Lyrikal on his most reflective on the Project. The horns also hit hard on this one, really consolidating the tracks Ambiance.
It’s good to have Lyrikal back and active in the Rap game, and this Mixtape is a good way to come back. Lyrikal can Rap, and it’s no secret, however, I feel he needs that single, just a single that is going to change his fortunes, Collaborations with major Hip-Hop Artistes and producers wouldn’t hurt him either and I’m sure that now he resides in Lagos those will not be challenges he cannot overcome. A Few hooks on some songs falter as I pointed out in the review, but that didnt stop this Mixtape from being one of the best I’ve heard this year, neither did it stop him from passing his point across.. It’s a breath of Fresh air in the current Rap scene, and i recommend that real Rap heads and students of the culture should download this. The question right now is can Lyrikal keep it up as regards consistency and Mark Making in the Game? time will tell.
Collective Lyrics:- 9/10
Favourite Verse:- The Oath ( The Full song )
Best Production:- The Warning [ Produced By Rapsom ]
Best Instrumental:- Edikwansa [ Produced By Rapsom ]
Shock Value:- The Beats Blew My Mind, especially The Tracks produced by Rapsom and MHP, They are quality Hip-Hop Producers, and this Mixtape made me recognize them Officially.
Final Score:- 9/10
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