Ill Bill – “Billy” review

This is the 8th full-length album from Brooklyn underground veteran Ill Bill. Rising to prominence as a member of the seminal quartet Non Phixion, he would become one of the most hard working dudes in the underground whether it be his solo discography or his subsequent output as part of groups like La Coka Nostra & Heavy Metal Kings. Last we heard from the Cult Leader was during the COVID-19 pandemic when he formed the Gorilla Twins with NEMS & dropped their self-titled debut, following it up with his previous effort La Bella Medusa that same fall. But after 3 years in the making, the east coast MC/producer is returning in the form of Billy.

“Alpha Futura” is a 2-minute opener with a whimsical boom bap instrumental & Bill referring to himself as a supreme guillotine whereas “Hell Awaits” over a futuristically eerie instrumental from Furio with some kicks & snares talking about holding a rifle to someone’s head while holding the Bible at the same time. “Jordan 3s” speaks on chilling in the projects rocking the titular shoes over a nasty boom bap beat courtesy of Stu Bangas, but then the Boston beatsmith sticks around to helps him tell “The Ballad of Billy®” over a solemn loop attached to some more snares & kicks.

Moving on from there with “Know My Name”, we have Skam2? tagging along over an organ-laced beat with some claps cooked up by the former Old World Disorder member promising y’all gon’ know who they are once it’s all said & done leading into “Canarsie Koresh” returning to the boom bap courtesy of Lord Goat talking about keeping your weapon loaded. Immortal Technique & Sick Jacken both come into the picture for “Prophets of Doom” making it clear we could only be a second away from taking our last breaths with a cataclysmic instrumental from Farma Beats just before “The Mandalorian” fuses boom bap with some guitar licks calling himself the lone bounty hunter of Canarsie.

“Supreme Magnetic” by the Heavy Metal Kings & Lord Goat finds the trio over some string sections coming through with them aggressive battle raps we all know & after the “Higher Power” interlude, “Smarten Up” by the Gorilla Twins talking about all you know not being enough over a soulful Little Vic instrumental. “Once Upon a Time in Canarsie” with Lord Goat sees both Non Phixion members looking back on the days growing up where the sharks be over booming yet nocturnal beat while “Yallah Yallah” by La Coka Nostra & O.T. the Real talking about getting your face shot off.

Meanwhile, “This is Anger” weaves some more pianos on top of kicks & snares thanks to DJ JS-1 delving into lividness prior to the Heavy Metal Kings returning alongside Kool G Rap on “Root for the Villain” to cheer on the bad guys over a morbidly raw DJ Muggs beat. “Sunday at the Tunnel” hooks up a classy sample provided by Statik Selektah paying homage to his influences in hip hop while “Leviathan” with Tragedy Khadafi talks about murder making summer colder over a grisly instrumental.

Lord Goat & Q-Unique come together for the mellow “Chubb Rock” making it clear they treat ‘em right kin to the hometown veteran of the same name with the flamethrower until Tragedy Khadafi returns alongside Ransom to deliver the crooning “Casino” overdosing on confidence. OMB Jay Dee’s verse on “Willis” has to be the weakest feature performance on the album even though it’s still cool nonetheless to see Billy give props to the Brooklyn drill scene. On top that, I love the churchy C-Lance production along with the Gorilla Twins & Rittz’ performances wanting to know exactly what the fuck they talkin’ ‘bout referencing Diff’rent Strokes.

After the “Wrong Place” interlude, the penultimate track “Time to Go” makes it clear that the grim reaper lives in every violent soul there is with a foreboding beat featuring co-production from Scott Stallone & the closer “Omega Therion” referencing the iconic Swiss extreme metal band Celtic Frost’s timeless sophomore effort To Mega Therion of course as every Bill fan should know that he’s a metalhead wrapping the album up with an eerie boom bap heater Body Bag Ben cooked up streetsweeping everybody.

Obviously given the title, I went into Billy expecting this to be a more personal effort & lo & behold: That’s what we got & one that I would say is an improvement to La Bella Medusa as dope as that album was a few Halloweens back because Bill never disappoints if we’re being honest here. Some people will complain about the 71 minute runtime, but he definitely he has the lyrical prowess & the gulliest batch of beats to pull it off as he does here.

Score: 4/5

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Mr. Hyde – “We’re the Nightbreed” review

Mr. Hyde is a 44 year old MC from Queens, New York who came up alongside his Gruesome Twosome cohort & longtime friend/collaborator Necro ever since the death rap inventor conceived Psycho+Logical-Records. After years of being featured on numerous albums from the label, Hyde finally got to shine on his own in the summer of ‘04 with his classic full-length debut Barn of the Naked Dead. He has since gone on to release 4 more albums on his own since then, with the last one being The Boogeyman’s Real in the fall of 2019. But given that it’s been a little over a year since Bonnie & Hyde put out their eponymous debut, it’s fitting for Hyde drop a debut EP on Friday the 13th.

“Don’t Forget My Number” is a demonic boom bap opener spitting the wicked shit whereas “Beast Bars” works in a guitar & some dusty drums talking about how hot his bars are. “Dipped in Death” shoots for a more unsettling atmosphere thanks to Cotardz for Hyde to deliver some brutal death rap while the track “Filthy Beasts” with G-Mo Skee declares themselves as such over an organ-laced instrumental. The final song “Nightbreed” ends the EP by ominously comparing himself to that or a monster & “Putrid Decay” is just a 34 second outro.

Much like Bonnie & Hyde’s self-titled debut from a little over a year ago, We’re the Nightbreed is definitely one of the better projects that Mr. Hyde has put out in recent years. Now I’m not saying he ever lost his step lyrically because he sounds as grisly than ever on this EP, but the production choices are progressively improving & that’s what I like to hear.

Score: 4/5

Ill Bill – “Pulp Phixion” review


Ill Bill is a legendary MC from Brooklyn, New York who rose to prominence as a member of Non Phixion. He eventually made his solo debut in 2004 with What’s Wrong with Bill? & would follow it up in 2008 with The Hour of Reprisal. 2 years later, he teamed up with DJ Muggs to deliver Kill Devil Hills & came back in 2013 with his magnum opus The Grimy Awards. He then took a break from music until Septagram in 2016 & now just 4 months after the release of the Stu Bangas produced Cannibal Hulk, he’s returning with his 2nd EP with Sunday producing it in it’s entirety.

The EP starts off with “Warlord”, where Bill compares himself to just that over a grimy beat. The next song “Axe of Abarxas” with Goretex & Sick Jacken sees the 3 getting confrontational over a Godly boom bap beat. The penultimate track “Debbie Abono” is a vicious Heavy Metal Kings reunion while the closer “Shoot First, Die Later” with Goretex sees the 2 getting bloodthirsty over a decent rap metal instrumental.

All & all, this is a decent EP from the cult leader. The production is just ok & Bill’s lyricism remains raw but much like that Cannbial Hulk album, there’s an overabundance of features. Nothing against everyone who was featured on the project AT ALL, but I’d just love to hear new Ill Bill joints where it’s just Bill. Regardless, it’s still a good listen.

Score: 3/5

Necro – “The Notorious Goriest” review

Necro is a 42 year old rapper & producer from Brooklyn, New York who started out playing in a death metal band called Injustice in 1987 with his older brother Ill Bill. He then transitioned over into hip hop the following year after being inspired by Bill & both have made quite the names for themselves in the underground. Especially with classics like Gory Days, The Pre-Fix for Death, the self-titled Circle of Tyrants album, What’s Wrong with Bill?The Hour of Reprisal just to name a few. But at the beginning of the decade, they began distancing themselves from each other with Bill regularly putting out music under his own name as well as with La Coka Nostra. Necro on the other hand has been pretty quiet with the exceptions of his 2010 album Die!, his Murder Murder Kill Kill EP, a handful of singles & a criminally underrated slept-on collab album with the legendary Kool G Rap under the name The Godfathers. However, he’s now making his full comeback with his 7th full-length album.

After the intro, we go into the first song “Murder Obscene”. Here, Necro spits his signature death bars over a gloomy boom bap beat. After the “H.N.A. (Head Neck Apartheid)” prelude, we go into the actual song with the same name. Where Necro spits more clever murder bars over a spacious boom bap beat. The track “My Precious” brags about his rapping skills over an ominous instrumental with a killer guitar riff during the hook while the song “Know Con-Science” returns to the witty yet filthy lyricism over a boom bap beat with a sinister piano lead. After the “W.T.W.C.T. (What’s This World Coming To?)” prelude, we go into the actual song with the same name. The hook is kinda annoying, but the soul sample is a nice touch & Necro’s confrontational lyricism suits it pretty well.

The track “Deaded” compares himself to Michael Myers over a boom bap beat with some sinister strings while the song “Caught Up!” talks about how violent he is over a punchy beat with some Halloween-esque bells. “The Love & Terror Cult” tells his competition to step back over a boom bap beat with some somber piano chords while the song “Party Killer” gets raunchy over an electro instrumental. The title track cleverly describes his disgusting antics over an eerie beat while the song “Gat O’ 9 Tales” is filled with battle bars over an instrumental with a prominent piano lead & a beautiful soul sample during the hook.

After the prelude to “The Master of Ruckus”, we go into the actual song with the same name. Here, Necro talks about killing you when you’re sleeping over a boom bap beat with a funky bass-line. The track “Grave Ol World” goes back to the raunchiness over a symphonic beat while “The Stories of the Almost Dead” vividly describes the protagonist’s life of crime over another boom bap beat with a piano lead & soul sample for the hook. And before things end off with the outro, the final song “The Dawn of a Dead Day” goes back to taking aim at his competition over a beat inspired by a blaxpoitation film.

I was wondering if Necro would ever drop an album again, but this is a strong comeback for him. Despite the lack of features & the song preludes bogging it down, Necro continues to prove that he’s one of the best producers that the underground has to offer with soundscapes on here being darker than ever & his horrorcore lyricism being as creative as it’s been in the past.

Score: 4/5