Critical – Quarantine (2012)

Artist: Critical

Album: Quarantine

Source: Creative Juices Music

Tracklisting:

1. Wreckage
2. Glidin’ (ft. Tzarizm)
3. Time Flies
4. A Vibe Called Stress (ft. Tzarizm)
5. Menace To Sobriety (ft. Madness)
6. The Difference

Note:

More than not, talented hip hop acts get buried under the bulk of “hip hop” music getting made these days.  Case in point, a guy like Critical, who has been making dope music for years, can fly underneath the radar while other less talented folks (who will remain unmentioned) get all of the shine.  Well, hopefully his most current release, Quarantine, will change all of that.

Quarantine is a collaborative effort between Tzarizm as the producer and Critical holding down the mic.  It’s been very common as of late for emcees to work with one producer for an entire project.  I am a big advocate of such projects because I think it makes for a more complete sound.  What sets this project apart from the others is the fact that the style of each song on Quarantine varies considerably.  It’s not just a matter of differing drum patterns and sounds.  It’s a different vibe that each song gives off.

The project starts off with the track, Wreckage, which maintains a back bone of boom bap flavor but then Tzarizm uses a flute (or other like sounding instrument) to give it a more distinct sound than just ‘east coast flair’. Critical shows off his wears by delivering on what a real emcee should be able to do. At the drop of hat he can switch his tempo, his cadence, and rhythm.  I don’t want to say it’s unique.  I’ve certainly mentioned others capable. But  it should be essential to the repetoire of any emcee worth his or her salt.  Critical exemplifies the gold standard of this skill set on this cut.

Menace To Sobriety finds Critical teaming up with his cohort, Madness.  Once again, this EP demonstrates how one should go about another facet of hip hop: The Collaboration.  Critical and Madness exchange bars of debauchery and neither spits off topic.  They seem to feed off of one another as the track builds momentum, rather than each doing their own thing.  It’s cohesive rhyme writing which you can pick up on their previous projects together.  Too often you find folks just throwing an assortment of emcees on a track.  Not here.  On this track you get two artists who have worked with each other for years, and that shows. In regards to the production,  Tzarizm’s back drop is hard to classify.  He uses different sounds, including the rattle, to give this joint and uptempo, yet venomous feel.

The Difference is the bread and butter banger of the project.  Tzarizm’s Hi-Hats  snap over some dark horns while Critical showcases his knack for the freshness thusly:

Put this on full blast and make the skies rain and thunder / Shake the ground with sounds and start taking cover / Bringing extinction, tell Death that his days are numbered / Just feel the pain in each line, you feel my ache and hunger / No Baby Mothers, just maybe if I break the rubber / Married to this games, it’s a shame that we’re jaded lovers / Snakes want to kill me see me dying unknown / But when I’m dead these words will form a life of their own

Critical has done his time in ciphers and the battle scene.  He has released albums with his aforemention cohort, Madness.  He has a handful of solo projects under his belt as well.  He is not a new jack or an up and coming artist.  This man has paid some serious dues.  His work speaks for itself.  Quarantine is six unique tracks  of 100% pure hip hop, that shows a producer adept at creating something unique, and an emcee confident enough in his abilities to stamp his personality on each cut.

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