CERTIFIED FIRE VOL. 4
An album by Skribbal
Review presented by Warren Peace
Listen to “Certified Fire Vol. 4“ by Skribbal
When it comes to connecting on social media with artists who would like to have an album review, Twitter is actually the outlet that has the fewest inquiries. Skribbal is one of the few who has contacted The Write Reviews through Twitter. I admit, I was intrigued and ready to hear this album from that moment, but I had to put “Certified Fire Vol. 4” on the review list just like every other album to be fair to all of the artists. Skribbal has recorded tracks with some of the emcees that have been featured in reviews on this website, as well as some who have albums on the review list currently. He has been recording music that he has released on albums since 2010, all of which can be found on his Bandcamp page. Let’s go ahead and put “Certified Fire Vol. 4” under the microscope…
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1- Devilman (Intro)
To start off the album, Skribbal has a funny snippet from a comedy show, it seems, followed by Skribbal repeating the phrase “It’s the goddamn devilman”. Definitely an original intro that kind of gives you an idea on Skribbal’s approach to hip hop.
2- Feel The Fire
The instrumental for “Feel The Fire” is somewhere in the middle of fast and slow paced while being a bit methodical. On the first verse, Skribbal goes right after shock value with his bars. He has a very smooth flow with an extensive vocabulary. He switches up his rhyme schemes to keep his flow from being boring, and mixes in some solid punchlines in his bars for entertainment. Some cuts get scratched into the track when it’s time for the hook to begin, and the audience finds comedy snippets are used in place of a chorus. The second verse is right on pace with the first in terms of lyrics and delivery. Skribbal displays a solid microphone presence also. The track concludes with the comedy skit/scratching mixed hook. Not a bad introductory song for the album at all.
3- Psychohead Babylon feat. GrewSum
This has a slower style beat with very deliberate horns sounding off. Skribbal’s shock value continues, and includes some funny punchlines with a fluent flow. The hook on this track is rather catchy but the wording feels off to me. On the second verse, GrewSum delivers clear, crisp bars with s hardcore nature. He throws some punches as well, although I don’t feel they connect in the same way as Skribbal’s. “Psychohead Babylon” closes with the hook, and nearly finding a spot among the Featured Tracks.
4- Everyone’s Offended
A beat with a fast tempo comes through the speakers while a reporter speaks about a situation regarding Anthony Cumia. In his bars, Skribbal explains and discusses the ridiculousness of the situation regarding Anthony Cumia. He makes a lot of great points as he delivers his lines with a well-timed flow. The brief track ends with more news anchors talking about the contradictory ways of the radio station that fired Anthony Cumia. This is an original concept that is brought to the attantion of the audience in an interesting and entertaining way, making it the first of Certified Fire Vol. 4 to make the Featured Tracks list.
5- L. S. D. (Trippin’)
During the course of this interlude, if you will, listeners learned several facts about the drug known as L.S.D. A wicked, jumpy beat plays as well, and Skribbal randomly says “L.S.D.”. Skribbal closes by rhyming a couple bars then repeating them.
6- Into The Wormhole
I like the slightly intense feeling the instrumental gives as it connects with the audience. Skribbal’s first verse has a smooth flow with great rhyme schemes. Topically though, he is kind of all over the place. The hook is put together really well and is likely to stick with listeners. On the second verse Skribbal proves he plans on sticking with straight shock value in his rhymes over the course of this album. He delivers his extended vocabulary in different sets of rhyme schemes that he transitions through without throwing his timing off. On the final verse, Skribbal is able to spit lines on some rea life stuff while incorporating wordplay. At this point in the album, I would have to say “Into The Wormhole” is my favorite song, and the second to be listed with the Featured Tracks.
7- Betty Ford
With a woman singing mixed into the instrumental, “Betty Ford” gets underway. Skribbal switches his style to storytelling for the second time on the album, speaking of being broke, having nothing, being addicted to drugs, and feeling depressed. The hook is kind of catchy, but the background vocals are kind of annoying. I guess, technically, both succeed at grabbing your attention. Skribbal matches his first verse with the second verse, staying with the topic and level of lyricism. “Betty Ford” wraps up with another round from the hook, and barely making the Featured Tracks list.
8- Bite The Curb feat. K-Fix
“Bite The Curb” begins with a TV or movie clip before Skribbal comes onto the track with the first verse. Back to more of a hardcore/shock rap approach, Skribbal continues his timely flow and knows how to switch rhyme schemes to keep things interesting for the audience. Instead of a hook, the vocals stop and the music continues playing. K-Fix is on the second verse. His vocals being off makes his lyrics unclear, hard to understand, and he sounds monotone like he’s reading the words for the first time off a piece of paper. After a couple listens, I was able to figure out what he was saying and determine his bars are good, well-written, and his flow is actually on point with the music. “Bite The Curb” os a solid addition to Certified Fire Vol. 4 but could use some tuning up.
9- ISIS Flow
I really like this beat a lot. It has a good tempo and builds intensity. The audience gets nothing but bars from Skribbal on this one. The emcee displays his excellent vocabulary and rhyme scheme flips as well as his consistently confident microphone presence while throwing in some wordplay. Rather short, “ISIS Flow” is still one of the better additions to the album.
10- House On The Hill
Featuring a slower type of instrumental, “House On The Hill” has a bit of a creepy feeling to the music. Skribbal doesn’t seem to have direction on this track as he is pretty random with his bars on the first verse. The hook has the subject matter for a topic written into it and is pretty easy to follow along with. Skribbal’s second set of bars is more attack-mode orientated and includes some clean double-time rhymes. On the last verse, the audience gets more of the same stuff that is found on the first two verses. There are a lot of different ways Skribbal could have approach this, even from a lyrical standpoint.
11- The Ballad
Some twang and drums are included on the beat for “The Ballad”, which maintains a slow speed in similar fashion to the last track. Skribbal’s lines seem to be directed at a female as he uses metaphors and his unwavering fluid flow to push his bars through the speakers. Instead of a chorus, listeners get some crazy guitar picking. Skribbal continues his emotional delivery without losing the momentum from his opening verse, sticking to similar content. The track suddenly ends with a crazy, high-pitched screeching sound that nearly knocks it out of its Featured Track slot.
“Foul! Mouth” kicks off with Skribbal ripping through lines in double-time speed. Although he doesn’t use many cuss words or phrases I consider “foul”, he does dabble in some drug talk and lines insinuating violence without being too graphic. Either way, “Foul-Mouth” is a decent addition on Certified Fire Vol. 4.
“Irony” has an instrumental that includes a piano and a drum rhythm that switches its pattern up. Skribbal tells a story about little Johnny, the lonely drug addict. Skribbal kind of skips quickly through little Johnny’s life, getting to how little Johnny dies and the irony of it all by the time listeners start getting into the song. Had it not been so rushed, I am sure “Irony” would have a place among the Featured Tracks.
14- Pulse of the Rhyme
This instrumental is a perfect follow-up to the beat for “Irony”. This is the track that Skribbal chooses to attack the wack rappers in the hip hop genre. He throws in some punches and metaphors as his consistent use of ever-changing rhyme schemes are molded together with a fluent flow of words. Not the best “all-out attack” on rappers in general I have heard, or the first time I’ve heard such a track by any means, “Pulse Of The Rhyme” still has a very solid place on the album.
15- Certified Fire
This is my favorite song of Certified Fire Vol. 4. The intro for the track is interesting, and not one of my favorite things about the song, to say the least. The tempo to the music is slightly quicker than average. Skribbal rips into the track with bars that are filled with punchlines and metaphors. The chorus is catchy, yet slightly repetitive, and very likely to stick with the audience even after the album is over. The level of lyricism stays its course on the second verse, allowing Skribbal to really show us what he can do with his lines. “Certified Fire” is an easy choice to be included with the Featured Tracks for this album.
16- Truth (Outro)
The outro begins in an unorthadox manner that grabs your attention, and keeps your attention by providing disgusting imagery that is bound to make people feel uncomnfortable as ominous music plays in the background. This is definitely one hell of a way to wrap up an album.
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Everyone’s Offended, Into The Wormhole, Betty Ford, The Ballad, and Certified Fire.
The Write Up
Although there are only five Featured Tracks out of the sixteen song provided on Certified Fire Vol. 4, in its entirety the album is better than averge. The instrumentals create moods and bring out feelings while setting a good pace in every song. Skribbal’s delivery, microphone presence, and flow with his words are very well polished. There was not a single track that lacked any of these things, in my opinion. When it comes to content, Skribbal seems to get hung up on having shock value and hardcore lyrics in his rhymes. Almost half of the album included tracks that weren’t actual songs but instead more like a long verse then it’s over. Lyrically, Skribbal would benefit from using his extensive vocabulary combined with more wordplay and intricate punches to keep his audience repeating the songs. These are all things Skribbal can easily work on improving, as he has most of the harder aspects of making good tracks figured out. Skribbal has definitely caught my attention with Certified Fire Vol. 4, and I would be interested in seeing what other albums he has to offer.
(2.5 out of 5 stars)
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