"Threatening Myself"
(highground / fta)

Ladies and Gentlemen, your plane is now ready for boarding. I am your captain speaking, Pilot Rase. Please take on your seatbelts, make sure your cellphone and other electronic equipment is shut off, as it might interfere with our inboard equipment. We hope you have a pleasant flight. Aight?!
"Threatening Myself" is the tape to be reviewed. Pilot Rase, for all that don't know, is one of the creative minds of the FTA crew outta San Jose, and he's maybe the one the closest associated with those three letters. If you check the site www.fulltimeartists.com, you'll see that there is much out there that goes to his credit. And some hip hop trivia: he's also the guy that did that enormously funky Sacred Hoop logo tag.
He opens the album with a slow moving "I'm With The D.J.", enhanced by Gas One's scratching. The whole title and female claiming gives this a funny twist, while it might be a little quiet to take you in from the start. So he follows this with "I Should Rap". With a whining and cutting sound, this sounds very sinister, and again a female is grabbing our attention asking "do you wanna get laid tonight". Okay. Rase states that he's in this game "for the love, not the hugs". Towards the end a guitar sound enters the room, and has a look around. But by then Rase has already progressed to "Bitch Ass Song". With a china town sample providing the backbone for him to show that he's not about the same old, he drops "how can I hold my own if I can't even hold my head up?" and "God is coming and Jesus is already here, but the Devil is cheating, got a head start of about 2000 years". After such intensity, we got to calm down with another instrumental cut, going by the name of "Superstar". Industrialized piano and keyboard sounds keep the dark and menacing vibe going. Always changing in form and appearance, this track mocks us with sunny hope, only to attack us with a chewing mechanism.
Now Rase is not all about his own self. So he steps aside and lets Marlon take charge behind the boards, and he also shares the mic with Joe Dubbs and Smash Adams. "Sardines" is opened up with thoughtful rhymes "cigarette in lip, inhale smoke into my chest, exhale the waste and then caught after, I think about drink, my liver hurts, I'm a lot like my dad, I guess it's in the genes, addicted to alcohol and nicotine" and continues with words like "avoid the devils gift and you could be a full time activist". Teaming up with Triangulum on "Another Interior", the playful bells allow the track to slowly unfold, then switch to some synthesized drops, that approaching the end multiply in a very dope manner. This effectively provides a different vibe to the over the top darkness of the other tracks. Finishing off the first side are some radio transmission, captured and pressed into the form of "Our New Song", produced by Dick Jones and featuring Unbreakable Comb and Triangulum. This style seems to be popular among the subterranean heads in Cali, as it manifests in a similar vibe.

"It's hard to see the future when the present ain't no gift, but it's harder to see myself doing anything but this".

On the b-side, Rase starts things off with another instrumental. This time piano fight over an old schoolish drum. A track that will paint many mental pictures, then again might be too short for a whole movie to play before your inner eye. Cause "Into My Palms", an intense track by Dick Jones and featuring Young Joseph and Neila cuts "Allmost There" short. Adding several parts to this track, it seems to always surprise you, while only getting back to where it started. However, this composition makes musicality a feature, and Neila is accompanying the take off in what sounds like a freed style. "Tee's" is a phone call interlude, before "If your Rap Is Strong", one of the best cuts on here raises like Phoenix out the ashes. These are some stars that fly like humble bees closely under your ceiling. And then Rase takes it down to the bare him. Acapella he speaks his heart: "it's days like today that make me this way, it was a world like this one that made FTA, dead empty eyes, extreme lows and highs, it's a rumble down on South First street, put a foot in your mouth and kick out your own teeth" and "when I turn around and look back, I need to be able to make eye contact, with the man who I am today and each villain I could have been along the way, it's hard to see the future when the present ain't no gift, but it's harder to see myself doing anything but this".
A clock ticking and Sidus Idiom's scratching open the title track. Rase is keeping the mic to himself on "Threatening Myself", while Dick again takes charge of the boards. And he pulls out an energetic track out of his equipment, especially with the monotonous piano, while the scratches give the track a strange dimension, but also the chance to intensify the drums. And so before we land again, things get calmed down too, on a track temptingly titled "4 min. 8 sec.". And instrumental expedition of instruments, namely a piano, and some guitar chords played before that, Rase puts this album in guiding frames, where the high rising piano can't break out, but also the low can't stomp through.
You hopefully kept your seatbelt on, cause the landing will be rough. And you never know if the engines will fail. Or the breaks. Even someone as experience as Rase couldn't save our asses then. (tadah the byk)

go to www.fulltimeartists.com to purchase this tape

explanation of our rating: each album can get a total of 100 stripes. there are three categories the albums are rated in: lyrics (40 stripes), beats (40 stripes) and originality (20 stripes). the stripes in black show the remaining stripes for the full 100.