In the rap world, supergroups are like Haley’s comet. They come, they go, and all the excitement fades like the fleeting tail of a comet. As poetic as that sounds, Random Axe just doesn’t fit the description. If anything, Random Axe is more like a befitting tool in a Voorhees movie-a deadly surprise. Okay, all corny analogies aside, Random Axe is dope in its purest form and their stir crazy buzz in the Hip Hop community is proof of that claim. Forming back in 2008 after collaborating on Guilty Simpson’s “Run,” the group is one of the biggest acts in the underground with a name dedicated to butcher-dom since Slaughterhouse. Now with the release of their self titled debut, Random Axe is prepared to take all challengers to the chopping block.
Before I begin, it’s worth mentioning that to enjoy this album you mustn’t be a Hip Hop snob. As P raps bluntly in “Random Call,” “They say I’m one dimensional, but there ain’t much talk talk when the slug gets into you.” With that said, anyone who was looking for an album filled with rich, thought provoking content please step aside, for this is an album intended for rap aficionados who are infatuated with vintage boom bap rap and hard knocking tunes. Besides, the true glory of this album actually comes from the cohesiveness in which everyone works together to make a solid album, not how intricate and indecipherable the lyrics are. If you can remember that, you’ll absolutely love this album.
Now to begin, Black Milk lays down the ground work with a myriad of head banging beats that are solid throughout the album. Although Black is able to hold his own with rap titans Guilty and Sean Price, he prefers to take the background allowing Guilty and Sean P to take the forefront. The formula works on tracks such as “Understand This,” “Black Ops,” and “Chewbacca.” Indeed, on “Understand This” Sean and Guilty trade bars tougher than adamantium. In “Black Ops,” a song deserving of any Call of Duty Playlist, Guilt “makes murals out of your favorite artist” while P lyrically knocks the sh*t out of snot boxes. On “Chewbacca,” Black Milk George Lucas’d the beat while P and Guilt “rap with the force of a jedi cipher.”
Although Milk reserves himself to board duty for a majority of the album, his contribution to “Hex” and “Monster Babies” not only displays that he’s refined his lyricism, but also the powerful synergy between the triad. On “Monster Babies,” the three-headed monster turns the shamrock track into Cloverfield, while on the rock tinged “Hex,” Simpson takes the lead as he shoots off lyrics like a crossbow. In addition, close affiliates of Sean P and Black Milk accent the album as well. The most noteworthy are Danny Brown and Melanie Rutherford on “Japhy Joe,” and Trick Trick and Rock on “Another One.” With the combination of Milk’s vertigo instrumentations and Melanie’s sultry voice on “Japhy Joe,” it’s surprising this wasn’t considered a single for the album. Nonetheless, solid verses throughout makes this another banger, although Danny Brown arguably finishes with the best verse as he spits deadly but humorous lyrics like, “I f*ck with model bitches while you f*ck with ratatouilles, I’m Malcolm in the Middle and ya’ll little n***** Dewey.” Coincidentally, Rock follows suit on “Another One” and eclipses the rest with a moonlighting verse.
If there’s any complaint to be made about this album, it would be its brevity. Other than that, Random Axe is very short of shortcomings. The triad’s perfectly pitched energy and upper echelon lyricism makes this beautifully grungy album a must have. Sadly, this album will probably go down as the most underrated album of the year, although collectively the trio is respected in underground circles, it’ll probably go unnoticed for years by mainstream audiences. Nonetheless, rap aficionados will definitely play this until the CD melts (if you still purchase CDs) for several weeks on end. Although it would’ve been nice if the group threw in a couple more songs for fans sake, this will definitely hold you over until their next release. However, just in case Random Axe proves to be another shooting star, you better grab hold of this one and hold on tight.
Let’s face it – judging an album on a scale of 1 to 5 mics just won’t cut it — that’s more of a magazine thing. After constant office arguments regarding album ratings, we’ve decided to revise our album review process and fairly judge an artist’s work across multiple avenues. At iHipHop.com, we believe every album deserves an impartial review, taking into account both music and cultural relevance.