Artist: Alpha Faktion
Album: Creative Control
- Stand Up (prod. DJ Raz)
- Price Tags (prod. Vherbal)
- Last Hours (prod. L’undercover Sismographe)
- Another Day pt. 2 (prod. Supreme Da Almighty)
- The Real Truth” (ft. Planet Asia, Skanks, Zagnif Nori & Dready Kruger (prod. Ayatollah)
- Move Back (prod. Alterbeats)
- The Formation (prod. Custodian of Records)
- Let Em Watch (prod. Vherbal)
- System Shutdown (prod. Marco Polo)
- The Shining (f. Milano Constantine) (prod. Vherbal)
- Divide the Fortress (f. Mic Handz) (prod. DJ Skizz)
- Creative Control (Skit) (prod. Chess Pain)
- Creative Control (prod. Nottz)
- The Lineage (prod. Marley Marl)
I waited for this album for three plus years from Alpha Faktion. Their EP, Truth, Lies, & Audiotape is a staple in a very crowded iTunes Library. So when Azwun, Kraze, and DJ Enyoutee finally dropped their new project, Creative Control my expectations were extraordinarily high. But this is what the team did in the process of making this album while I waited anxiously: They made something that was timeless.
Like many of the projects I review, I can honestly do a song by song review from start to finish and tell you how dope they are. But in narrowing the focus I first want to talk about the second track from the album, Price Tags produced Vherbal.
The production has depth and texture with crisp drums but then layered with vocal samples and piano riffs. The music sounds so comprehensive, the instrumental engulfs you. Azwun and Kraze spit honest and genuine lyricism about how there is no room for anything other than their own brand of hip hop. There is no compromise when it comes to their music and it’s worth. Check the chorus:
They want the truth with the rhymes they’re going to get it / We climbing every minute / The grind is how we live it / We starving’ artists regardless with what you’re working like / Peep the merchandise / Ain’t no haggle on the purchase price
Another Day pt 2, is another noteworthy track, this time produced by Supreme Da Almighty. This track is a little less aggressive than some of the other songs off of the album, but it still winds up slapping you upside the head with ill lyricism and understated boom-bap flavor. Check this sixteen from Azwun:
Yo we sounding the alarm when day breaks, we’re on the next shit /. We Columbine the place, well, you should book us for your next gig / Another day awake, you know I’m grateful for the rising sun / The masters talking reckless, I don’t stress it /. They don’t allow me none / They hate us in the worst way / I hover in my own galaxy most days / Humbled and stumbled here in the first place / Got me thinking I am past the point of a miracle / Like when you serial the scratch will they trace genetic material? / You know you fucked up? / I high five cats, give them the thumbs up / The fellowship flows heavy like dump trucks / We keep em boxed out / Bodies in the paint, conquer from top down / Applying my science too long to stop now / Somedays I’m overkill / Feel like ‘fuck the world’, anxious, you know the drill / But I’m seven times wise finding my coping skills / We put the pressure on past the point of resistance / When the walls cave in…you know it’s feeding time for the misfits
Let ‘Em Watch is yet another banger. Vherbal may not be as well known as Marco Polo, Nottz, Ayatollah, and DJ Skizz but his contributions on this album are equal parts flame. The drums are smacking hard, with horns, and strings while Alpha Faktion ignores trends and ascends to the top of their game. They’ve got no time for ‘swag’ and ‘vagina rhymers’. Azwun and Kraze are brutal with their turn of phrase: “we’re not concerned with yours, carnival savages ravage the lanes of herbivores”.
There are quite a few dope producers and guest emcees on this project which I did not touch on. You take my guarantee that they are ill, but what makes Creative Control special is that Alpha Faktion personifies a commitment to hip hop. For years, they worked on this project and you can literally hear the blood, sweat, and tears hit the studio floor. The rhymes are extremely well written. The flows and cadence on each track are explicitly tailored. The cuts from Enyoutee put a high luster finish on an already great project. The album is laser-focused from start to finish and a clear indicator of what can happen when talent and effort collide.