This was my first time listening to a Swollen Members album, even though they’ve been around for over a decade. I remember seeing a couple music videos on Much Music when I was 12 and I always thought they were corny (look what they were wearing back then), but then I saw the guest features on this new album and thought I’d give them a chance. They’ve actually come a long way and seem to have mastered their craft. Madchild and Prevail are a nice 1-2 punch together as their rapping styles contrast each other greatly but create a good synergy. Prevail has a fast, direct flow, while Madchild uses his natural lisp to his advantage with a more precise, slower flow, and both of them have sharpened their rhymes since the last decade.
The beats on this album are ridiculously good; this is probably one of the top 5 best-produced albums this year, with a good balance between bass-heavy tracks and more mellow ones. The rapping here is great too, with lots of battle-styled raps from Prevail and Madchild, as well as guest verses from Slaine, Ill Bill, Vinnie Paz, Esoteric, Apathy and Celph Titled. Other than great rap verses, there’s not many unique song concepts or ideas, as most of the album stays in this one lane and rides that lane really well. The only thing keeping this album out of the top 10 is that I haven’t heard any of the 9 Swollen Members albums before this, so I don’t have that connection with the group that you get when you follow an artist over a long career. This is my own issue to deal with though, and shouldn’t take away from the album. I need to go back and listen to their older work.
My Grade (based on how well I connected with it, no disrespect if your experience was different): A-
Come back to my blog tomorrow to see which album or mixtape came in at #11 on the countdown!