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Ill Bill - The Grimy Awards' (Album Review) | Takin' Mines
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Ill Bill – The Grimy Awards
By  |  03.04.2013  | 
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GrimyAwards

Ill Bill
The Grimy Awards
Fat Beats Records


 

Life is too short to sit around and watch every award show, stuffed with red carpet interviews and acceptance speeches you couldn’t care less about (except you Jimmy V). So Ill Bill did everyone a favor and got some of Hip-Hop’s nastiest producers and emcees to present an award show you may want to watch hear, The Grimy Awards. Weighing in at 17 hefty tracks, the album is best summarized as “The hardcore Hip-Hop with heart, like nitroglycerin/ The type of rap you feel in your cardiac/ The grimy, illmatical boom bap, mathematical goon rap” (“Truth”). It’s a mix of barbed wire for breakfast, tough guy lyricism, everyday wisdom, and personal meditations-all told through the meticulously calculated flows you’ve come to expect from Ill Bill over timeless production and dynamic cuts.

 

Don’t get too caught up in the list of producers and the head nod deep beats they contributed to the project. There are several lessons to be relearned from Ill Bill. “Power” tells the age old story of those who are really in control and making the big bucks in the music industry- the executives, not the artists or the fans- hence Bill’s advice to artists to look out for themselves since no one else is. And the two verses on “Severed Heads of State” from Ill Bill and El-P can be equated to a red pill to today’s Matrix of capitalist lies. Arguably the most important lesson to be learned comes on “How To Survive An Apocalypse” which not only comes complete with a list of supplies needed: guns, beans, bullets, and band-aids, but also skills you will need to learn: gardening, using old technology, and maintaining a tight circle of friends.

 

Needless to say, the rhymes stay vicious and visceral throughout the album, although a little unfocused. But for whatever reason, Ill Bill keeps it more on point when joined by Lil Fame, Meyhem Lauren, and Jedi Mind Tricks. On “Violence*,” Ill Bill showcases an irregular rhyming pattern that catches you offguard with cacophonous syllables, like bullets in a gunfight: “Murders are premeditated and orchestrated/by symphony conductors sorta but the sawed off is spraying/ the rhythm of the gunshots is like a song is playing/ speaking in the same tongues that God liked to talk to Satan.” But on tracks like “Forty Deuce Hebrew” and “Acid Reflux,” the lyrics get convoluted in religious imagery or within themselves. Either the following line contains a metaphor outside of my public high school English class- trained brain’s grasp or it’s an inside joke no one gets: “Get my rocks off, sparking golf course assassination/ Pistol whippin, kill the bridge, triple 6.” Then we have a line like “The cult leader cure cancer with hypnotic powers/ Goon druggy type dye, psychedelic paint job/ Doom buggy drive-bys, heretics that hate God.” Regardless of the wild imagery it creates in your head, it’s disconnected from the rest of the track and album, for that matter.

 

On a more personal note, Ill Bill preserves his conscious side by dedicating a track to his grandmother who died 25 years ago of cancer, attributing his opportunities in life, motivation, and more to her (“When I Die”). He also sets a track aside for the faceless victims who needlessly die or suffer from negligence in the streets, whether it’s due to senseless violence or selfishness (“Canarsie High”).

 

Solely based on production, this album is a memorable installment in Hip-Hop history. But the lyrics try to accomplish too much for a single album, detracting from the overall flow of the project. Ill Bill kept it pure Hip-Hop but tried to jam too much of it into 17 tracks, which is a bit bloated to begin with. Then again, I see it as a comprehensive look at Ill Bill’s life as a man and an emcee. So take it as an autobiography for one of the most notable minds to be the recipient of a Grimy Award.

 

*Hands down, Lil Fame still does one of the best imitations of a gun shot to this day.

 

 

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Greg Grease – “Forward”

 

 

If you’ve managed to get this far during the week, you probably deserve a break. And what good timing to introduce Greg Grease‘s latest video for “Forward”, a stripped down, less-is-more banger that doesn’t need to be overdramatic to get it’s point across. Directed by Adam Dunn as a part of his #LABB (Lights and a Backdrop) series, the visuals are as minimalistic as it gets, allowing the Grease, his DJ and his turntable to play centre stage. Check it out and be sure to pick up Greg Grease’s Black King Cole EP if you don’t already own it.

 

  1. Blu & Nottz (feat. Rashad) – “End of the World”
  2. CJ Fly (feat. A La $oul & Phife Dawg) – “Seek Well”
  3. Boldy James (feat. Earl Sweatshirt, Da$h & Domo Genesis) – “Reform School” (prod. by The Alchemist)
  4. Danny Brown (feat. Scrufizzer) – “Dubstep”
  5. Black Milk – “Dismal”
  6. Alterbeats (feat. Guilty Simpson & The Rockness Monstah) – “Fruit Punch”
  7. Snow Tha Product (feat. CyHi The Prynce) – “Hold You Down”
  8. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – “Harold’s”
  9. Childish Gambino – “Yaphet Kotto”
  10. Stan Ipcus – “Wifey Material”
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