Novatore – “Living in the End Times” review

Novatore is a 34 year old MC from Chicago, Illinois who originally came up as a member of the Infamous Crew. He’s also built up an impressive solo career since 2015 by dropping 4 EPs & 9 albums all in that amount of time, with the previous offering Master of Morbid Creations this past spring. But for his 10th full-length over here, Novatore’s enlisting both Johnny Slash & longtime collaborator C-Lance behind the boards for such a milestone in his ever-growing discography.

“Outlaws of Outer Space” opens up the album with a synth-boom bap hybrid talking about being ready for total war prior to King Magnetic tagging along for “Road Warriors” welcoming you to your only future & the crooning sample throughout is flipped really well. “Audio Assault” ruggedly calls for all his enemies to fall to their knees leading into A.M. Early Morning & Nightwalker coming into the picture for “The Time Has Come” to flex their prowesses & my favorite part about the beat has to be the guitar hands down.

Continuing from there with “Terry Funk Syndrome”, we have Novatore over more synth/boom bap production referring himself to be amongst the dopest out whereas “End Times” is just an instrumental interlude. “The Game is Over” with Benny Holiday & iLL ZakieL finds the trio ruggedly letting everyone know they didn’t come to fuck around while the song “Mass Panic” has a more dustier quality to it talking about how we’ve been a nation of zombies. The penultimate track “Wasteland” with OutcastGawd Lord El sees the pair going back & forth with one another over a pitched-loop until “Class Act” is a piano-laced closer talking about never being afraid to fail.

Although I’d personally say Master of Morbid Creations happens to be the better of the 2 albums that Novatore has dropped throughout 2022, you should be more than satisfied with what we got on Living in the End Times. The features are a little hit or miss, but the production & concept are both as strong enough as the predecessor’s to make me be able to want to listen to it again.

Score: 3.5/5

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Novatore – “Master of Morbid Imagery” review

This is the 8th full-length album from Chicago emcee Novatore. Coming up as a member of the Infamous Crew, he’s also built up an impressive solo career in the last 6 years by dropping 4 EPs & 7 albums, the previous being Embrace the Darkness II: Explorers of Experience last year. He just teamed up with A.M. Early Morning a couple months back for the Stu Bangas-produced collab effort Kingdom of Criminality & is celebrating the 1-year anniversary of his last solo effort in the form of Master of Morbid Imagery.

After the “Ascend the Heavens” intro, Chris Crack & Moecyrus tag along for the spacey boom bap opener “God Level” produced by Young Bangas talking about burning lots of shit whereas “Sentient” works in a high-pitched vocal sample thanks to C-Lance flexing how elaborate he is. A.M. Early Morning comes into the picture for “Chemical Experiments” comparing themselves to mad scientists over a rap rock instrumental from none other than Stu Bangas, but then “Split” throws in a crooning loop & mixes some dusty drums in talking about having 2 personalities.

Meanwhile on “Cyborg vs. Nazi”, we have Novatore telling the story from the point of view of a cyborg being a prisoner of war over some uncanny boom bap production leading into “Lab Rats” going into battle rap turf over an instrumental kin to Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind. The song “Eat Their Brains” with Moecyrus finds the 2 paying homage to my mother’s favorite song of all-time “Wonderwall” by Oasis over a boom bap beat with a dirty bass-guitar riff while the penultimate track “Can’t Relate” with Wildcard has a more heinous sound to it talking about not having respect for those who don’t have a passion for their craft. “Sci-Fi” with Eto & Lord Goat ends the album with a futuristic Johnny Slash instrumental to get gruesome lyrically.

To hear how much Novatore continuing to level up as an MC throughout the years has been incredible to watch & Master of Morbid Imagery further solidifies that. The performances from the features are 50/50, but the subject matter definitely lives up to the name & the production is consistently raw.

Score: 4/5

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

Novatore – “Embrace the Darkness II: Explorers of Experience” review

Novatore is a 33 year old MC from Chicago, Illinois coming up as a member of the Infamous Crew. He’s also built up an impressive solo career in the last 6 years by dropping 4 EPs & 7 albums, the previous being Portrait of a Mad Man this past November. But given his history with Enemy Soil Entertainment in-house producer C-Lance, it’s only right for them to drop a sequel to Embrace the Darkness.

After the “Demon to Some” intro, the first song “Antisocial” is a boom bap banger about how Novatore doesn’t like people whereas “Smoke & Mirrors” goes into a more operatic direction to tell listeners what you thought it was is something that isn’t.

NEMS comes along for the atmospheric “Myth” pretty much saying their success was imminent while the somewhat quirkily-produced “Embrace the Darkness” opens up about losing faith watching people die.

Meanwhile with “Mask Up”, we get a Japanese sample in the beat as Novatore teams up with G-Mo Skee sending warning shots to their naysayers just before Termanology & A.M. Early Morning help get reminiscent on the string-laced “Looking Back”.

The actual “Night Raiders” song featuring Moecyrus succeeding an “Opening Credits” interlude brings in some synth-horns as they talk about there’s no one like them while the penultimate track “Raising Hell” is an off-the-top freestyle backed by a weepy beat. The album ends with “Workaholic”, which works in a hypnotic vocal sample & the dude raps about his hustle obviously.

It’s very rare when a sequel album is better than the predecessor, but Explorers of Experience pulls it off. Novatore’s pen-game keeps elevating to higher levels with each new project he puts out, you can never really go wrong whenever C-Lance is on the boards & putting them together results in mayhem.

Score: 4/5