ILL Brown – Return of the Hardcore [Review]
Living in Aubrey “Drake” Graham era of hip-hop has hardcore hip-hop fanatics and thugs emotionally stripped from manhood attached to their vagina monologues. Let us not forget living in a soulless and lack of Black empowerment in hip-hop that lost identity to mainstream. With corporate hip-hop enterprising the genre as ‘soft’ as bubble gum with a stench of body decomposition, the staple of candid rhymes the homies brag in a discourse or debate and what was once uplifting for the betterment of society from being oppressed is at the cascades of suicide. The results are little to no hope for hip-hop to return to its essence of what once made the genre a cultural beauty.
It was not until Chicago street braggart, architect producer, and extraordinary emcee Will Ill Brown(@ILLBrown) takes over by bringing the pain with his propulsive and intransigent Return of The Hardcore. It is the byproduct of East Coast meets Midwest raw hip-hop with production approximating to Buckwild, Large Professor, RZA, Pete Rock, No I.D., Easy Mo’ Bee, DJ Muggs, and Kanye West of old plopped with the vocal toughness of Black Rob and M.O.P.
Immediately, conscious yet gangsta Ill Brown delivers lyrical hell without consolation from beginning to end with heavy hitters. The album title and single “Return of the Hardcore” is boom bap rap at optimum with the seditious punchline ‘How about some hardcore/ Yeah we like it raw…Rappers rapping off beat/ Looking like Taylor Swift,’ tickles hip-hop’s funny bone. The soulful in-your-face “Bar-Baric” sets the bar high in lyrical stanzas of gold. Ill Brown allows hip-hop heads to enter his 36 chambers to experience his vicious liquid swords in “Cobra Clutch”, a song that pageants his over protectiveness of the genre that desire to manipulate it for cash crop. His aggressiveness in song is like the multiple strikes of a black mamba.
The realm of true emceeing that wreck crews in hip-hop derive from that ‘Ill Boogie Brown back with that “Kojak Rap”, ’ a rock-hard track with a laid back fashionable manner in delivery and flow. The explosive “On Notice” gives wack emcees two choices: to fight like a man and battle or to choke on rhymes and coward to underground vaults. The uniqueness of this record stems from its scratching technique comparable to DJ Premier and its infamous punchline, “Oh! You a Molly popper/ Makes it so easy to Molly whop ya!” The edgy-thrilling “Jadaveon Clowney” is creatively best for its death and a funeral theme. The song has non-linguistic emcees diarrhea at the mouth stain shit raps and in body bags.
Return of the Hardcore could easily be a summer album banger despite of its February release- the most gratifying and memorable Chicago hip-hop albums without skipping any tracks. The myth is most producers cannot flow or deliver. Well, Ill Brown got barz with bizarre punchlines and grungy bass. Return of the Hardcore is not that illiterate, stuttering, Tourette syndrome, yellow short bus riding with a helmet over the head rap heard over the airwaves. It is music for the cyphers. It is hip-hop conjuring!
-Hector De La Rosa