A.M. Early Morning & Novatore – “Kingdom of Criminality” review

This is a brand new collaborative album between Chicago emcees A.M. Early Morning & Novatore. Both of whom have been turning heads in the underground for a couple years now, but didn’t actually connect with each other until “Looking Back” off the latter’s Embrace the Darkness II: Explorers of Experience produced by C-Lance last spring. However, the pair are now coming together to take the world through the Kingdom of Criminality & are bringing Stu Bangas on board to produce the whole thing.

The titular intro sets the album off by grimly talking about turning crews into fairy dust whereas “Sons of Satan” mixes a guitar in with some dusty drums proclaiming themselves as hellspawn. Spit Gemz tags along for the piano/boom bap laced title track welcoming you to the titular world just before the raw “Jumanji” talks about getting into any obstacle. Lord Goat & Recognize Ali come into the picture for “Circle of Goats” to spit some deadly battle raps leading into “Left in Ruins” by detailing how the crime life will follow you & the beat on here has an alien-esque feel to it. “Cannibal Feast” weaves in a piano & guitar to provide the theme for cannibals while the orchestral “Pissy Stairwells” finds the 2 trading rhymes back & forth excellently with one another. The penultimate track “Another Dimension” with Chino XL heinously talking about being beyond sick & “Underestimated” with Apathy ends the album on rock-tinged note calling out those who doubted them.

Given that both of these guys just came through with some of the highest points of their careers last year, I was pumped going into this & it certainly lived up to my expectations. A.M. Early Morning & Novatore both bring the best out of each other with unique chemistry while Stu Bangas still maintains to be a monster behind the boards.

Score: 4.5/5

A.M. Early Morning – “Nicholson” review

This is the full-length debut from Chicago emcee A.M. Early Morning. Coming up off his debut EP The Maxi Single Project back in 2017, he would later go on to release a couple more installments making a trilogy out of it as well as 7AM 747 & Oakley. He just dropped the Nightwalker-produced Late Night Early Morning III a couple months back & now to see Johnny Slash fully producing Nicholson from front to back definitely peaked my interest given how much I enjoyed the beats of his that G-Mo Skee freestyled over when he would finish his YouTube video game streams.

“Wendy” is a brief yet gruesome intro proclaiming he’ll turn his competition to slaw whereas “Full Amount” goes into boom bap territory talking about how it’s going out once it comes in. Daniel Son & Poison Pen tag along for the sinister “This Tape” saying that the rap game is a legal hustle just before “Vibes” dolefully talks about fucking with the best.

Meanwhile on “When I Shoot”, we have Johnny Gunnz coming into the picture to earnestly help remind listeners they don’t miss leading into “Can’t Let ‘Em Breathe” fuses together some dusty drums & keyboards talking about having his foot on the rap game’s neck. “The Hammer” with Jaber & Lo Gun then finds the trio bloodthirsty on top of a unhinged instrumental, but then “Criminal Collective” ominously talks about making your own moves.

The song “No Cap” grimily calls out all the studio gangsters out there while the title track with Gavlyn almost has a bit of a dejected yet jazzy tone to the production & the 2 are comparing themselves to that of the retired actor of the same name. “Joe Pesci” then finishes it off by aggressively airs out everyone under the sun.

Coming away from Nicholson, I can say without question that it’s even better than the EP he just put out a couple months ago. He & Johnny Slash couldn’t have payed tribute to one of the greatest horror movies of all-time any better while bringing the best out of each other.

Score: 4.5/5

A.M. Early Morning – “Late Night Early Morning III” review

A.M. Early Morning is a 34 year old MC from Chicago, Illinois who emerged off his debut EP The Maxi Single Project back in 2017. He would later go on to release a couple more installments making a trilogy & then 7AM 747 but with the 1-year anniversary of Oakley approaching this Devil’s Night, it’s only right for A.M. to return for a 6th EP enlisting local producer Nightwalker to lace the entire thing.

The title track that kicks the album off is a jazzy boom bap with Eto tagging along to talk about hustling 24/7 whereas the PozLyrix-assisted “Herb Adams Sniff” has a bit of a Wu-Tang Forever era RZA feel to the production getting on their gangsta shit. Otis Ghost comes in for the bluesy “La Historia De Mi Primo” addresses the opioid crisis in their city just before the symphonic “Holy Matrimony” expresses being married to the game

The song “Dusk ‘Til Dawn” with King Magnetic is a lot like the opener in the sense that it’s a boom bap joint about grinding except there’s no jazz influences while the penultimate track “Bape Sweats, Supreme J’s” serves as a rich dedication to their favorite streetwear brands. Little Vic then joins A.M. for “Jacob’s Ladder”, a guitar/soul infused closer about making it up to their own heavens.

Coming away from this, I think it’s A.M.’s best work yet. He paints a vivid picture of the Hell that he’s been through in his hometown & Nightwalker’s production has a bit of an East Coast flare to it despite the fact that he’s from the same city as the MC is.

Score: 4/5