Sine Language
label: frontline
includes: b.a.n.n.e.r., fine artz, qwazaar, energy, o type star, one man army, others.
year of release: 2003
 
 
 
 
tracklisting
1. Sine Language
2. B.a.N.N.e.R. "Get Live"
3. Fine Artz "Light Years Ahead"
4. Energy, jDoubleU "Give & Take"
5. Qwazaar, H.E.L.L.S.E.N.T., Nova C.A.I.N. "Eyes Of Others"
6. Chauncie Garner, Gras, jDoubleU "Cry For Help"
7. Energy "Females Are Dope"
8. O Type Star, Nova C.A.I.N., jDoubleU, Atlas "Phobia"
9. Qwazaar "River Styx"
10. H.E.L.L.S.E.N.T., Qwazaar "Nuthin' New"
11. B.a.N.N.e.R. "Lost Souls"
12. Chauncie Gardner, One Man Army, Illite, jDoubleU, Magestik Legend "Neighborhoods"
13. H.E.L.L.S.E.N.T. "Child Support"
14. Atlas "Deja Vu"
15. Energy "Flesh O.n N.atural E.nergy
16. Czar, Qwazaar, O Type Star "Author Rise...Remix"
17. Gras "Life's A Gamble"
18. S3 "Interpretation"
19. Qwazaar "Broken Dreams"
20. Jah Safe "Safe Saga (Murderous Mix)"
21. Energy, Villain, Jah Safe, Nova C.A.I.N. "Last Man Chanting"
"Sine Language", as well as being the title track, is a nice little intro to this album. What it consists of is mostly a lengthy soundbite from "Any Given Sunday" which emphasises the importance placed on teamwork in the Frontline philosophy. It's then followed by much affirmation that this is how the Chicago record label rolls; the artists look out for each other, and they stick together. And my God they do, as you then can't help noticing the twenty-one deep tracklist which boasts appearances from nineteen different rappers.
"Get Live" gets things going, with B.a.N.N.e.R spitting high-velocity raps over jumping strings, and with a hook that's recorded from a live show, and then "Fine Artz" picks up the baton to drop lines over the echoing keys of "Light Years Ahead". A little later, we're treated to Energy's solo joint "Females Are Dope" which, while it doesn't have one of the album's better beats, you can't help but like on principle because of Energy's slow lines about addiction to women and his genius choice of title.
By the time you've made it through about the first thirteen tracks, however, you shouldn't be blamed if your attention begins to dwindle somewhat. For all their incomprehensible names, not many of the rappers on this album assert their own identity or stick out sufficiently from the others. Qazaar is one cat who manages to keep you interested - his raps are well delivered (as are the raps of a lot of the others), but it's his choice of beats which really differentiates him. On "River Styx", he brings cryptic lyrics over a simplistic beatbox which immediately distances the track from the regular looping of most of the others, and then he later rhymes on "Broken Dreams" over a nice beat and fanfare sample courtesy of Chauncie Gardner. With the variation in these beats, Qazaar's flows then have the chance to grab your attention so, as you make it to the end of the twenty-one track marathon, he's one of the cats whose verses you can remember.
Despite the fairly high quality of both lyrics and beats on offer here, "Sine Language" basically presents the listener with too much to process. B.a.N.N.e.R manages to carve himself a small niche by telling a story of murder, revenge and double-crossing on the simple but haunting "Lost Souls", and the choice of samples on "Author Rise… Remix" (produced by 5ifth Element) and "Life's A Gamble" (produced by Chauncie Gardner) establishes the respective producers as nice with theirs. But for every moment that's noteworthy here, there are about ten more that get lost in the mix.
One of the final tracks, which stands out for all the wrong reasons is "Interpretations" (by S3), with it's nonsensical operatic chorus and verses where if the MC's aren't having a laugh, perhaps they should be. And then there's the previously mentioned "Broken Dreams" and two more faceless tracks "Safe Saga" and "Last Man Chanting" and the marathon is over, but you're left only with memories of certain parts of the journey.
In a way, it's admirable that Frontline gives everyone a shot on "Sine Language" - everyone gets a go at grabbing the limelight but, ultimately, too much is thrown at the listener. Records of this length tend to only work if the artist(s) are established well enough for you to want to hear how they twist a lyric on each different track; or if there's enough variation in the twenty-one tracks to keep the listener guessing. Regrettably, "Sine Language" isn't an example of either of these.
review: cornerstone
 
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