Serge Severe x Zapata – Silver Novelist (2012)
Artist: Serge Severe x Zapata
Album: Silver Novelist
1. Silver Novelist
3. Dead Poets
4. Casually Obscene
5. Hunger Games
5. Magic-Less World
When Serge Severe drops a project I take notice. The man is amongst my favorite emcees with his style and delivery. It’s something that is as different as it is dope. For this project he teams up with producer Zapata. Zapata’s sound is a little less traditional than lets say, Terminill (Service Without A Smile). His style is ambient and ethereal. And while I may prefer the Service Without A Smile when comparing the two projects, Silver Novelist is undoubtedly worth the listeners time on more than one occasion.
The title track to the project is an electronic build up of momentum. The production from Zapata surges and diminished throughout the cut and Serge Severe submits his style to the vibe with this type of lyricism:
Yell out, hear an echo / Bubbling manifestos / Taught to rob and steal, cheaters caught…Joey Greco / Lowly thresholds arms chiseled like Spartacus / Age of electronica, Dutch Depeche Mode when I’m carving it
These words from Serge Severe accurately describe Zapata’s style. “Depeche Mode when I’m carving it…” He alters an electronic element and bends it towards a hip hop flavor.
Hunger Games is a more subdued beat from Zapata which gives the impression that the listener is in the jungle. The beat flips and our producer is constantly changing the sounds back and forth giving this joint a great deal of vitality. He still manages to bring in some heavy drums that allow the track to knock a bit. Serge Severe’s lyrical charms are on full display on this song. He really displays an eloquence as an emcee which is hard to find a parallel for:
Whispers of an angel, shoulder sitting delicate / Forecasting danger same time feed me medicine / Opposing sediments / Flaws up in the architecture / Read a book alone, skipped out on the Harvard lectures
Magic-Less World has a more dramatic vibe to it. It’s a short, climatic measure used to bring this album to a close. The tempo is upped and the intensity rises from both producer and emcee. Everything still blends perfectly as Zapata utilizes an assortment of vocal samples and what sounds like maracas. It seems like the perfect ending to a great musical experience.
What I gather from listening to the Silver Novelist is that Serge Severe is reluctant to be pigeon holed as an emcee. He is using these EPs to expose his complexity of style as an artist. He can drop punchlines with the best of them, but what’s the point? Here, on this project, he shows that he can bring a more poetic style and bring the words to life on the mic. It’s like Nasir Jones meets Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It’s a different dynamic with the same dope result.