Nocturnal by Heltah Skeltah, 1996

Intro One of my biggest problems with the mainstream media is that they only focus on what's "hot" or "next". That's great and all, but it's not a natural way to move through life. When it comes to music, this is especially true. If you only know what is coming out now or next, you could miss out on a wealth of music. Music is part of my heritage, history and life. Don't worry though, I have your back.

For those that weren't old enough (or alive) to experience all of the great music that came out in the 90's, I'm going to do you a favor. Every generation can benefit from looking to the previous generation and searching for music to connect with. Looking back to the previous generation doesn't mean that I will make a long and drawn out list of greatest hits from the 90's. So, along with keeping up with the great music that's coming out every day, I'm going to write album reviews of classic albums that most people have forgotten about. The first album is Nocturnal by Heltah Skeltah and I can easily say that this album is my favorite album. The proof is in the number of times that I have listened to the album and how it doesn't matter if it was the year 2000 or 2010.

Nocturnal, Heltah Skeltah, 1996

If you don't know Heltah Skeltah, they exploded onto an unexpecting world with a dark, battle rap, tongue twisting and demonically dominant exhibition of what hip hop can be. This is when "underground" didn't only tell you how many scans an artist recorded. Underground was a style, an attitude and it was a sub-genre of hip hop that pointed the flashlight into the shadows of the world of hip hop. Nocturnal was the debut album for the dynamic duo of Rock and Ruck and they both attack beats with a tenacious and relentless style that put them up there with the best of the battle rappers. The name, Nocturnal obviously refers to animals that live by night, but the music and lyrics were completely in line with the sounds of certain Brooklyn streets at night.

Nocturnal was the second album from the then young record label, Duck Down Records. Named Ruck back in '96, Sean Price and Rock were a great team of larger than life characters. With this album, they formed an alliance of evil characters that resembled the most notorious comic book villains telling stories that chronicle their battles, crimes and evil schemes of dominating the rap world. Like they say, "daytime is used to plot schemes for the night prowl". Their lyrics from track 14 called "Prowl" sums it up better than I ever could.

Style Appropriately named Rock, he uses every ounce of his strength to prove his dominance and that there isn't anything soft about him. It is evident in his voice, humor, lyrics and gestures (or lack of). Ruck(us), now known Sean Price is a perfect counterweight to Rock. Sean Price's tongue twisting, witty, hilarious and creatively descriptive lyrics lighten the mood (a little bit) with humor. In the end, Heltah Skeltah's collective lyrical style is like a 15 round verbal beatdown that keeps you coming back for more. "I flip scripts, people duck sick "

Featured Track

[audio:|titles=14 Prowl]



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