label: uprok
mix cd includes: tunnel rats, la symphony, lmno, 2mex, mars ill, deepspace5, remnant, mass reality, others.
year of release: 2003
If the Tunnel Rats call, many excellent artists are quick to answer. So when the TR centered project "Underground Rise" was taking place, people like LMNO, LA Symphony, 2mex, Mars ILL, and Deepspace5 answered. What puts this out there as a compilation, with the participating artists kept hidden in the credits. Masking this as the group effort it seems to have been during the recordings process. Because these artists met to record, there was a clash of minds, brains, concepts, ideas and etc. With the result being nineteen songs of faithful rap.
Yes, that was an unsuccessful attempt to stir clear of the word Christian. But if it looks like a duck, it smells like a duck, and it even says it's a duck, then you might as well call it a duck too. Therefore especially with songs like "Devil's Advocate" by Sekou The Misfit, what else can you call this apart from what it is: songs of spirituality, of religious strength, of positive outlooks, of creative people that believe. The mentioned track is of a conversation Sekou has with God, with his argumentation being set up that there's no disputing allowed. The remaining lyrics, never come short in spirituality, good and positive, or reflective messages.

1. Intro feat. Jamie
2. How We Get Down feat. Macho, Propaganda, Reconcile
3. You Don't Want That feat. Manchild, Playdough, Jurny
4. Southern Brutality feat. Dokument, Reconcile, Neogen, Lazarus, Propaganda
5. Kick Kick feat. LMNO, Dax, Knows, Zane, Dezin8ed, Sev Statik
6. Devil's Advocate feat. Sekou The Misfit
7. Concentrated feat. Listener, Sev Statik, Dezin8ed
8. Lost feat. Raphi, Macho, Neogen
9. Real Money feat. Dert, Macho
10. The Knack feat. Propaganda, Griffin, Drastic
11. Ladders feat. Propaganda, Knows, Raphi
12. Interlude feat. Knows, Propaganda
13. One Voice feat. Tunnel Rats, LA Symphony
14. Suffocation feat. Dokument, Drastic, Jurny
15. Mission Pen Possible feat. LPG, Mass Reality, Raphi
16. Cyphers feat. Elsie, Propaganda, Dax
17. Doing Life feat. Drastic, Raphi, Elsie
18. Remember This Day feat. Dax, 2mex, Neogen, Dert, Reconcile, Professor Who, Dokument, Chosen1, Griffin, Lazarus, Raphi, Drastic, Propaganda, Macho
19. Outro feat. Jamie
On the beat tip, Dert (who did most of the beats) does not come through all the time. Too often he mimics possible hit material, that makes the beat have bounce, but they don't fully subscribe to the intention. Therefore they are kept solid, they are well done, but they lack a lot of soul. As example the strangely choppy "Lost", the horrible "One Voice" (where the Tunnel Rats team up with LA Symphony), the okay "Cyphers", the typical "Doing Life" or the bad "Remember This Day" (the posse cut with Dax, 2mex, Neogen, Dert, Reconcile, Professor Who, Dokument, Chosen1, Griffin, Lazarus, Raphi, Drastic, Propaganda and Macho putting their rhymes down) shall be mentioned. And again, the tracks are well executed, they just struggle to have a charming character. If they'd be wine, they'd be good, but they wouldn't accentuate the meal. Much better works a minimal "The Knack" and the even better "Ladders", where Propaganda, Knows and Raphi again come conscious with their message.
And on "Real Money" Dert comes really through with a hitting beat, that's not hard but also not too bubble gum. Macho uses this to talk about the shadiness of the business. Simply due to the courage of doing something harder, "You Don't Want That" gets a nod too. Here it's also Manchild that makes this song much more, with him being as good a lyricist as he is. "Kick Kick" also works with a certain playfulness and carelessness. LMNO, Dax, Knows, Zane, Deniz8ed and Sev Statik share mic duty. They are content to just flow for a big part, what however is never just empty talk. "Suffocation" also comes with a better beat, showing that whenever Dert strays away from a formula, the songs start to sound better.
With all this said, the record comes strong where it's expected to be strong, namely the lyrics and the message, but it comes half/half on the beat tip. What is also what keeps away much of the possible excitement. This however is a true family affair. And while mainly one member of the family took care of the beats, with more family members being good in that department, on the already announced volume two, some of those might be happy to help out.
review: tadah
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