Having never really bothered to listen to Wu-Tang associates such as Sunz of Man, Killarmy and Royal Fam, nor bothering with Killah Priest‘s cult favourite Heavy Mental, when I heard that Tragedy Khadafi and Killah Priest were forming the Black Market Milita with Hell Razah, Timbo King and William Cooper (who I’ve never heard of), I was only really checking for the Intelligent Hoodlum‘s contributions.
After rocking the album for a couple of weeks, I have to admit that this release is a lot better than I expected. As with other “political” rap projects, the beats and hooks don’t always match up to the weight of the lyrics, and even the vocal content varies in effectiveness, as seemingly random Biblical references, Beyond A Pale Horse paranoia and Five Percenter lessons share airtime with on-point observations and empowering messages. While I still find myself waiting for Trag’s outstanding verses more often than not, the other members hold their positions pretty effectively, especially the kid who kinda sounds like God’s Son in terms of his voice.
Muiscally, things are off to a rocky start, as “Thug Nation” drags it’s feet with a plodding beat that never seems to get going, and “Final Call” is bogged-down with it’s dreary “Ten Commandments” style music (sorry Biggie fans, I mean the Charlton Heston version), but songs such as “Hood Lullabye” “Gem Stars” and “Mayday” come off with more appealing sonics. The highlight for me is “Think Market”, as stadium rock-style ’80’s guitars and a big beat bang through the speakers, bringing an energy out of the vocal performances that’s lacking in a couple of other spots. Because of the similarities in some of the beats, many of the songs on The Black Market Militia are more effective when you hear them seperately instead as a whole package, but the good stuff had me coming back for more.
While BMM falls short of the power of Public Enemy or X-Clan‘s glory days, this group has a lot of potential for the future if they can tighten up some of the weaker beats and choruses. For the time being, there’s enough quality material to make this a worthwhile listen for those looking for a change of pace.
Review copy supplied courtesy of Shogun Distribution.
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