Random Axe, Random Axe, 6.28.2011
Sean Price, Guilty Simpson and Black Milk are Random Axe. Their debut album as a hip hop super group is self titled and it dropped at the end of last month. I've written about all three of these artists individually and their team glorifies the potential of collaboration. In all honesty, I would have picked up any album these three artists put out individually, but they made my life a lot easier and put the hip hop world on notice at the same time. The reception of the album isn't reflective of the musical quality though. In other words, I think people are sleeping on this album.
There was a small competition to tell which artist from Random Axe is the your favorite and why. The best two entries won a signed copy of the album. That's how I got my copy and this is what I said.
Sean Price is my favorite out of the band. He’s done it for so long and my favorite album of all time is Nocturnal where Tawl Sean has been tearing it down since 96. Each song is a classic. The word play and lyrical skills established him as one of the best, if not THE BEST mc in hip hop, mainstream or underground. He went on to get the respect he deserves by getting featured on every respectable mc’s album in hip hop. He went solo and has been consistently giving his skills while staying true to Duckdown. He reps Brooklyn to the fullest and I don’t think there’s anything else that needs to be said.
Every word of that is true. The only thing I would add to that it's not a sign of disrespect to Guilty Simpson or Black Milk. Guilty Simpson has a raw style that fits perfectly with the beats and two other mc's of Random Axe. Black Milk's production and lyrical contribution make it a perfect trio. There's no weak link and there's no point trying to find one. Recently seeing Random Axe on Tony Touch's Toca Tuesdays exposed me to Black Milk's freestyling skills and I'm blown away.
They didn't waste one bar on the album. I know some people aren't into the battle rap style, but if you are into it and you don't have Random Axe, consider this your alarm clock. "This isn't for the weak hearted", Guilty Simpson summarizes it perfectly.
[audio:http://ra-nyc.com/boywithstick/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/07.-Random-Axe-Random-Axe-Everybody-Nobody-Somebody.mp3|titles=07. Random Axe - Random Axe - Everybody Nobody Somebody]
There are several precedents that prove that if you combine Brooklyn and Midwest artists it can produce unique hip hop albums. Random Axe carrying this torch further by adding the nightmare battle rap to the BK to Midwest connection. Several previous BK/Midwest collabos have a conscious, home grown and a more refined sound. Random Axe gathered some of the rawest artists out today to show what a hip hop super group can do. As a side note, I don't think you can compare Random Axe to Slaughterhouse because the production of Random Axe is much more consistent and I think it creates a more identifiable style to the group. Slaughterhouse definitely locks down the mic on an individual basis, but the team is really four strong mc's and the while the production is dark and raw, I think it lacks that consistency which solidifies it's identity/style of music/production. I imagine it's more complicated to make 6 producers (from Slaughterhouse's 1st album) to create a consistent sound, than it is for Black Milk to do it by himself. Also, Black Milk's style has made it's mark as an identifiable outlier that has his signature built into it due to his previous success. This isn't intended to disrespect Slaughterhouse by any means. I'm simply comparing two of the best hip hop super groups with a raw/dark style that have Brooklyn and Detroit representatives.