You guys may remember, during our review of Copywrite’s God Save The King that I mentioned how excited I was to hear some new Illogic material. Well, I got my wish with Preparing For Capture, his collaborative effort with iconic producer, Blockhead. I’d heard some time ago that these two were planning on recording an album together and I was instantly hyped. A coupling of Illogic’s rhyme style and Blockhead’s production was sure to be nothing short of fantastic.
If you’re not familiar with Illogic, he’s an Ohio-based MC most known for his unique style of battle-ready wordplay with a poetic touch. He has an uncanny way of making you really feel his lyrics. Whether he’s speaking in first person or through the mind of someone else, the listener is always pulled in completely. Think Sage Francis mixed with Saul Williams topped with Blu. Or don’t. Whatever. The truth is I can’t really think of someone that sounds much like Illogic. And, in my book, that’s a good thing.
To give you some history, I’ve been a huge fan of Illogic since I randomly ran across his song, “1000 Whispers.” At the time, I’d never heard something like that before. “If a picture’s worth a thousand words I’ll paint a thousand pictures to symbolize the decibel levels bred of a thousand whispers.” To this day that’s still one of my favorite Illogic songs because the words he lays down are so complex. I immediately picked up Celestial Clockwork off the strength of that one song and was floored by the way he crafted his album. Listening to his rhymes feels like reading a long, but amazing, slam piece. After Celestial Clockwork I picked up every single release I could find from Got Lyrics? to Diabolical Fun and I can honestly say I’ve yet to hear a wack song from this man.
And if you’re not familiar with Blockhead, he’s a New York-based producer who creates some of the best production the indie rap scene has witnessed. He’s best known for producing quite a bit of Aesop Rock’s material dating all the way back to his first album. And I can’t say it’s a coincidence that the ones he produced are, to this day, still some of my favorite Aesop songs. (“Commencement At The Obedience Academy”, “Daylight” and “Getaway Car.” He’s also done production for a few of my other favorite MCs, Cage and Vordul Mega. But that’s not all he’s known for. He’s released five solo albums that are incredible in their own right. Music By Cavelight still holds as one of my favorite instrumental albums. He’s always been an interesting producer to me because of how his beats seem to be based on live instruments like pianos, guitars, bongos, etc. and create such an emotional feeling with their depth. I find it a shame that his name doesn’t get mentioned more often when producer discussions come up. Just for completest-sake I feel like I have to mention that he’s also one-half of Party Fun Action Committee. If you feel like laughing your ass off, this is the perfect album to grab. But just don’t pick it up as an introduction to Blockhead’s work. Please.
With “Preparing For Capture” both of these guys seem to bring their A game to the table. Blockhead always has that more subdued production that goes so well with the more artistic style MCs and he definitely laced Illogic with some crazy beats. From the first song “Matter Of Minutes” I was hooked. With the beautiful piano sound and the fuzzy overlay on the vocals, I thought it was a great way to lead-in. The EP just goes up from there.
Illogic delivers some great content on this EP. On “Poster Boy” he’s talking about artists today not putting any of their soul into their music. This is something I complain about quite frequently so I feel him when he says “I’m finding it a challenge just to listen to the blisterin’ cold spittin’ of the talentless division.” Illogic is at his lyrical best on “Teach Me How To Learn.” The way he goes through the actions of writing, speaking, loving, listening, etc. is pretty dope. “Her Story” is a deep track about how a child witnessing abuse at home leads to her becoming a drug addict on the streets. This is a really interesting angle to look at. No one ever really thinks about how people become the way they are. We look at drug addicts as bottom-of-the-barrel scumbags without lending a single bit of thought into what could drive a person to that dark place. And even more, we don’t think about how, given a slightly different circumstance, any of us could be in the same place. But I digress.
The only song that I have any negative feelings about would have to be “Weigh You Down.” I didn’t really care for the dancey feel of the track. The clap sample in the background and the head-bobbing baseline just didn’t work for me. The hook really sealed my dislike of the track. It was rather generic for an Illogic song. But, hey, one song out of eight isn’t bad at all.
Overall, I thought this was a really dope EP. The songs were crafted well beat and lyric-wise. Illogic and Blockhead are a matchup made in hip hop paradise. These two have been overlooked for far too long and I’m hoping this collaboration raises awareness to their stellar work. I’ll say one more thing. If this EP is comprised of tracks that didn’t make their upcoming album, Capture The Sun, then I have a feeling that that album is going to be an absolute gem.
“Illogic is here to spread a heart’s worth of artwork, along with Blockhead who lays the undertow where the sharks lurk.”
Pick up the EP here: http://illogic.bandcamp.com/