Hip Hop Album Reviews (05/2017)

Collision

COLLISION

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An album by Suffer

Review presented by Issac Sandoval

Listen to “Collision” by Suffer

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THE INTRO

Suffer is a two-man squad who incorporated the Russian language into their music, and have been obviously influenced by heavy rock. The duo is known for having a nice lyrical approach with their music. They also enjoy working with a variety of artists, as you will see as you check out the review. Issac Sandoval, The Write Reviews’ tough-as-nails critic, is the one up to bat, and the one that Suffer hopes to impress. Here’s the track-by-track breakdown of Collision.


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THE ALBUM

1- The Takeover feat. Grewsum, Killa C, TreLb, Sheepy, and Demi Demance

From the very first note we have the iconic underground sound that scares conservative parents away from Hip-Hop and I’m excited to see what this duo has in store for me. The first thing I notice when the vocals begin is that the sound quality and delivery is on a higher plane than I typically come across when dealing with the deep depths of the underground. The first two verses are both crisp and polished, while not mind-blowingly lyrical, they are great verses nonetheless. The third verse I feel, has an unfair advantage because it’s a foreign language, so while it’s contents are beyond my comprehension, the mic presence and delivery is on par with the first two. The hook, while not catchy, is dark and melodic and ties these verses together like heavy duty rope. When the fifth verse appears, I felt as though the song should have ended after the preceding hook. The verses are still of quality but they feel a bit tacked on and make the song a tad bit lengthy. After the first four verses and two hooks, I’m already primed to hear the rest of the album.

2- Killa feat. Hemi and Preach

Another dark and melodic hook, I believe brought to us by Hemi, but if I’m wrong, I apologize. This album is full of features from artists I am familiar and unfamiliar with, so I will try to leave names out of this review, again, my apologizes. The first verse is packed with character, diction, and tone of an experienced recording artist, while the voice may turn some off, I have to give credit where credit is due. Second verse once again in a foreign language, so not much insight to offer other than it sounds really good sonically. The third verse really draws my attention to the flow, the way the pockets are being hit and the precision with which the syllables are chopped up is just like butter to a fan of chopping such as myself.

3- I Know feat. Gorilla Zoe

I know it’s not a popular opinion amongst underground heads, but I really dug Gorilla Zoe’s 2009 hit “Echos,” and I have skimmed through his catalog a bit here and there, so to see his name in the tracklist of this album certainly got me excited. Zoe did not disappoint in the slightest, the hook alone is enough to carry just about any song, or take a song of this quality to the next level. Zoe’s flow is so effortless that at first I didn’t realize that he had transitioned out of the hook and into a verse. Boy does that melody sound great even when it is sung in another language. The Suffer duo are able to reel in the energy that they had on the first two records without losing even a single step in their delivery. One of my favorite songs on the LP, if not my favorite.

4- OG feat. Hemi, JL of B.Hood, and SwizZz

OG features two names very recognizable to any true underground fan, JL of B. Hood and SwizZz. OG brings us another phenomenal hook (since I phrased it that way Suffer should link up with Irv da Phenom on a track) that makes me hope that these guys are on top of their marketing and promotional game, or have someone who is, because a few of these records should be anthems in the underground, worthy widespread acclaim, and this track is one of them. The beat for this song has stuck out to me more than many of the others on the album, just another reason I feel this song deserves lofty recognition. Every emcee on this record sounds right at home on this beat, no one is off on a tangent. Suffer has so far shown more ability to correctly position features than artists with major label backing.

5- Let Go feat. Tac Man, Iceman, Cordell Drake, and JL of B.Hood

To this point I have lavished this album with praise, despite the fact that the first four tracks do not vary sonically very much at all. Now that we have gotten to the fifth track and we encounter the same type of record yet again, it makes me nervous that the album may be one note all the way through, and when an album is as long as this one, that is something that has to be avoided. I don not wish to be misunderstood however, Let Go is still a very good record, but there is only so far that can take an album.

6- Never feat. J. Dutch, Jay Da 3rd, and Mike Jones

From an instrumental standpoint I seem to have gotten my wish on Never. The beat is quite a sudden deviation from the sound that Suffer introduced themselves with, but the style of rhyming and the approach to the song doesn’t seem to have been altered to fit the beat. Again the hook is great, the verses are great, but there seems to be some kind of intangible that is missing, perhaps it will come to me as we get deeper into the album. My hopes remain high, but I am going to need a little something more to really make this a great album instead of just a list of great songs

7- Heavy Artillery feat. Smoke, K-Fix, Kaoz, Lil Witness, Hurricane, SplytSecond, and Blezo 1 Tyme

The instrumental for Heavy Artillery has gone right back to the tried and true underground sound that has embodied at least five of the six previous records. I really wish I had a lyric sheet for this album with the artists clearly labeled because every feature on this album delivers, and I can’t be sure who exactly just spit that verse that I enjoyed. Heavy Artillery has more chopping than we’ve seen yet on the album. Where this song is going to lose some of the audience is the sheer amount of bars that you are being hit with. Rhyme after rhyme for nearly eight minutes, and a lot of it is spit at double time or faster. This record can be mentally taxing to say the least.

8- Villainz feat. Frozolid, Jonevill, Dieabolik the Monster, Grewsum, and Mr. Liqz

At the halfway point in the album I’m becoming very self-conscious as a writer because we never want to repeat ourselves or make the reader feel as though we are hitting the same notes over and over, but what is a critic to do when that is what the artist is giving him? And I feel quite torn because each individual song is very high quality and I am enjoying every record, every verse, and every hook. Villainz is no exception, but do I once again heap praise on the song when if someone is casually listening to the album they wouldn’t be able to distinguish Villainz from three or four other records on the album? I’m desperately hoping that Suffer can have a few different flavors in the second half of the album so I can give it a star rating that I want.

9- Get Your Weight Up feat. K. Kerr, Made Locc, Koopsta Knicca, and T-Rock

Get Your Weight up once again brings us an anthem type instrumental, but the hook here seems to fall short of a full-blown banger, along with the first verse failing to bring the energy that the beat demands. The third verse has some impressive punchlines that stand out when compared to the rest of the album. While the first verse sounded too mellow for this track, each subsequent verse steps up the energy, but sadly only for the adrenaline rush to die off when the hook comes back around, and the final verse which sounds like it was recorded on a cell phone. To top it off it’s flow is clumsy and the delivery sounds timid, not the start I was hoping the second half would get off to.

10- Give Em Hell feat. Ruka Puff, ClaAs, Aequitas, Knothead, and Dbuzzin

Another anthemesque/banger type instrumental, but with a darker tone, befitting a title like Give Em Hell. One half of Suffer begins the track and this time around the energy is cranked all the way up, and I’m back on the edge of my seat. The second verse matches the intensity of the first, but the third is lacking in that department, and the fourth brings us back to where we began. The fifth verse has some impressive imagery beginning with the devil being loose on Earth. The fifth verse is where the song should probably have been ended, I’m starting to get fatigued from the sheer length of the verses and songs on this LP.

11- Coming Up (Remix) feat. Mike Jones and Ruka Puff

Give Em Hell ended with the Thriller laugh, and Coming Up begins with it. It’s a classic for sure, but it can be overused and this is the fourth or fifth time we’ve heard it though the listening of this album, and if I had to bet, we’ll probably hear it again. This time instead of the verse feeling as though it’s too soft for the beat, the first verse feels too intense for the beat and for Mike Jones’s hook. Mike’s verse however seems to blend perfectly with the instrumental, and I could see him taking this record solo and making it a hit. Coming Up has two foreign language verses, and for me, who only speaks English, it doesn’t give me much to work with as a critic. Coming Up along with a few other songs seems to be devoid of an organized song structure, which is something I feel would work more to Suffer’s favor if the album were not so long.

12- I Do feat. Arakari, Keen Zeus, Noah Jones, and Prince Po of Organized Konfusion

With I Do, we definitely have a strong departure from the typical sound of Suffer, and it sweeps in like the freshest breath of fresh air you ever breathed. The issue I take with this record is that; with the softer sound I’d like a bit more of a cohesive record with more substance. With the anthem type tracks that were being cranked out before, I’m not too picky about the free flowing nature of subject matter. But on I Do I think it will make most listeners confused, because the emotion and vibe has been shifted sonically, but not from a lyrical standpoint. However, the change of pace is enough to bring me back into the listening experience and give my throbbing brain a chance to regroup.

13- Shadows feat. Arakari, Omen, v-Zilla, and Chief Kamachi

The beat for Shadows is just beautiful, absolutely freaking beautiful! The haunting vocalization is the audible equivalent of a hypnotic dancing flame climbing higher and higher, sorry to get so poetic, I just really am incapable of getting over how beautiful this instrumental is. Unlike I Do before it, Shadows has the whole package feel that we got from the first few tracks on the album, and the change in sound has me heaping more praise on it than I probably would if I hadn’t been bogged down with the weight of the first half of the album, if the last three songs on the album are this good I think it can make up for the dragging first half.

14- Twisted feat. Civil Psycho and Shabaam Sahdeeq

Great transition from Shadows to Twisted, the beats are distinctly different, but similar enough that we are already in the perfect state-of-mind to receive this record. Suffer has the on point delivery that they always do, but I’m hearing a lot more poetry and emotion in their voices this time around, and instead of just sounding great, the foreign language verse makes me FEEL. The entire song is perfect until we get to the scratches, they seem out of place on a song like this. The final verse is not terrible, but after three stellar verses it brings the song to a dull conclusion.

15- Padded Walls feat. Arakari, Hemi, and Mr. Grey

Padded Walls gives me the impression that we are going to turn back up for the ending of the album. More horrorcore than anthem, and more artistry than freestyle. In this song I see more character and world creation than I’ve seen to this point in the album, not only provided by the emcees, but also from the production, I can picture a music video to this song in my head as I listen to it. It’s more vivid than any other record on the LP, and the hook game is back on one hundred! The use of autotune I feel, elevates the hook to a place it couldn’t have gone with your typical horrorcore vocal effects. Another favorite of mine.

16- S.I.D. (Remix) few. Dbuzzin, Frozolid, Kutt Calhoun, SwizZz, and Stevie Stone

The transition from Padded Walls to S.I.D. is a bit awkward to say the least, but because it is labeled as: *Bonus Track*, I definitely give it a pass in that regard. It feels tacked on, as a stand alone single, it would earn high marks. Kutt kills it, SwizZz kills it, Suffer kills it, and so on and so forth. Unfortunately in this case I have to critique the music as it is presented to me, but I feel that this record may have worked within the album as long as it was well placed in the sequencing of it. Really the only complaint that I have for S.I.D. is that it ends rather abruptly, and I feel that there was still more to say.


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OHHH! B.

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FEATURED TRACKS

Killa, I Know, OG, Give Em Hell, Shadows, and S.I.D. Remix


THE WRITE UP


Collision LP by Suffer is not for the average listener, this is not something you play in your car on the way to pick up some groceries. This is not something you put on in the background while you work…well, maybe when you’re working out. It is intense from the word go, the beats are epic, and the rhymes are hard. Catchy hooks are few and far between, but the rhymes come fast and furious. It’s jam packed with all-star features from Koopsta Knicca, Stevie Stone, Gorilla Zoe, and even…who? MIKE JONES! (Sorry, couldn’t resist) That isn’t even half of the features on this album! Nearly every guest delivers exactly what you would hope that they would. Also, don’t judge this book by its cover. The cover seems to suggest some hard horrorcore, but it elevates itself beyond that. It does have its many horrorcore elements, but it is palatable enough for those of us, like myself, who are not huge fans of horrorcore.
I want to make this critique section brief because this album’s shortcomings are enough to knock some stars off of it’s final score, but the things it did well, it did extremely well, and I did enjoy this album. The album was too similar to itself sonically, with the exception of a few records you will not be able to distinguish one song from the next without a lot of repeat listening. Secondly, the album is just too long. not necessarily too long from a numbers standpoint, but the amount of bars, and verses, and five minute tracks will run you ragged by the end of it. Perhaps most importantly though, the album starts off incredibly, and ends on a high note, so it will at the very least leave a good taste in your mouth.


STAR STATUS

STARS

🌟 🌟 🌟 .5

(3.5 out of 5 stars)


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