Album of the Week: Blaq Tongue Society Self-Titled

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Blaq Tongue Society
Blaq Tongue Society
Sickocell Recordz, 2013

Daniel’s Thought

The first thing that comes to mind when listening to Blaq Tongue Society’s self-titled debut album is that there are many influences resonating on the surface. “Age of the Pyramidz” has the same attitude, flow and fleshed-out production as any Army of the Pharaohs cut; “8 Octogramz Of Shinigami” starts off with the same sort of kung-fu b-movie sample you’d expect on a RZA track; “Panthion” absorbs the harmonious sounds and funky flow of underground legends Kool Keith and Del tha Funkee Homosapien; and “Terraform” locks onto the gritty underground movement of the late 90s and the futuristic sound El-P introduced with The Cold Vein.

With that being said, Blaq Tongue Society flawlessly takes their debut album and folds it into something they can call their own. While this album is mostly a contingent of underground sounds, it’s hard to ignore the weird paradoxes. “Code of Hamurabi” propels like a tribute to faith but at the same time haunts with dizzying horns and offsetting vocal tones; and “Sinister S.E.V.E.N.” remains minimalistic in nature, but packs a powerful punch from open to close. Elsewhere, cannibalistic flow dominates “Butcherz Of Babylon” over haunting production that backs a horrorcore-like sound. If “Butcherz Of Babylon” isn’t going to move you with its ill lyricism (“Slash you in the jugular, Tibetan book of death”), then the production will. The percussion sounds like something Mola Ram would compose in The Temple of Doom, and I get the feeling this is everything Tyler, The Creator’s “French” wanted to accomplish but failed to fully reach.

It’s amazing how much Blaq Tongue Society covers, and with 19 tracks this may seem like a stupid thought, but when you really delve into this record it comes full force. The styles and varying flow from this group and all their guests (including: Rakaa Iriscience of Dilated Peoples and Self Jupiter of Freestyle Fellowship) make this a lengthy project without the bore or drone. Fans of artists like Hieroglyphics and Formula Abstract will thoroughly enjoy this record, but for those wanting to explore hip-hop’s distinct ability to branch out, this is a must.

Gus’ Thought

As the 21st century moves forward, the advancements in technology have made it possible for anyone and everyone to try their hand at making music. This is truly a blessing and a curse. Anybody can write a rhyme, make a beat and put it up on the Internet for the world to hear. Because of this, there is a sea of music, new artists and albums every single day. It can be extremely difficult to find the new, profound sound with the overload of new stuff. However, when you find the sound that is meaningful and worth a listen, it soars above the rest.

The Los Angeles based group, Blaq Tongue Society, does just this with their in your face style, hardcore production and revolutionary lyrics. In May they released their self-titled debut album, entering the world of hip-hop with an original, untamed sound, showcasing many MCs and producers in the underground scene of LA. Their music harnesses the raw energy of artists such as Public Enemy, N.W.A., Dead Prez, Immortal Technique and Pharoahe Monch. These MCs aren’t afraid of honesty and refuse to sugarcoat the content of their music. There are times when hip-hop artists are needed to deliver content that is raw and in your face. In an industry that is obsessed with the top 40 and the next hit, this approach to hip-hop feels a like cool breeze on a blisteringly hot, 90-degree day. The method of Blaq Tongue Society delivers in this exact way.

With lines such as, “Gushin’ pores is whatcha in for / Brothers of another smothered mother, ex-lover / Government cover-up, agent Smith last he’s one of em’” from “Terraform” the group is establishes their lyrical brilliance and originality in a genre that is often saturated with snare hits and hooks. Blaq Tongue Society also stands out with the production from the likes of those that manage to create a sinister atmosphere that is perfect for the meta-physical and socio-political lyricism spit by each MC. Blaq Tongue Society is worth the listen because of their radical sound, powerful lyricism and shadowy style of production. Clearly, the underground scene in LA is alive and well.

Must-Listens

“Butcherz Of Babylon”

“Panthion”

“Terraform”

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