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“Run The Road Volume 2” Review

Published in Blog, Culture Bully. Tags: , .

Run Road 2

Run the Road 2‘s release came as both a surprise and a gift to me. It was mere weeks ago that my fascination peaked in Lady Sovereign and I’ve been happily reacquainting myself with The Streets. Though RTR2 is solid and continues to inspire me to look for new grime, it doesn’t quite compare to the original. Kano’s “Get Set” is by far the best possible selection for the opening track; not only for it’s compelling beat, but for its inclusion of a number of perfectly chosen guest appearances. Low Deep flows perfectly with the track, and the other four MCs fit perfectly. It’s understandable, however, that when attempting to examine an entire scene, there will be tremendous inconsistencies. Doctor’s track “Gotta Man” stands as an inconsistency to me. Sounding like a strange grime-dancehall fusion, that track bulges with the addition of female MC Davinche’s distinctly blunt vocals. JME follows with another glimmer of hope into the scene, offering not simply a solid beat (remix), but another example of how smooth and polished grime can be.

The forgettable addition of Big Seac is followed by the crunkish “Up Your Speed.” Ghetto and Katie Pearl offer an addition of “Run the Road,” a casual grime flow with spurts of R&B.; I’m not sure that I completely feel that this is a mixture that is either necessary or capable. I am in no way comparing this to a duet with Beyonce and Jay-Z, but for ease, allow me to contrast. the latter have a lyrical flow that compliments the smoother sounding songs they are associated with. Grime, to me, is an alternative to what has (in many cases) become a joke in terms of hip hop. I have a hard time equating this with what I feel to be it’s opposite; the creamy, soothing vocal addition.

“Sick 2 Def” comes off at times as a brilliant commentary, and at times like it’s missed its own message. “I talk morbid, just to make you feel awkward;” a statement that is quite appropriate in defining the track itself. As the stories unfold through this rap, my thoughts veer towards this “awkward morbidity.” As Plan B begins to focus on the examination of how prime time television exhibits the same characteristics as a vulgar rhyme, I think he loses sight that by doing so in such a manner he’s proliferating the thought that the television is by far the lesser of two evils. None the less, the song proves interesting in how it plays out with its entirely acoustic guitar backing track.

The set is rounded out by (among others) a Joe Buddha collaboration with the Barrington Levy-ish Klashnekoff and a track by the Dynasty Crew, ushering in what just might be the next wave of grime. While there are some definite high points, the overall impression isn’t as powerful as the initial Run the Road release. Chuck D. once said that we are only exposed to roughly 15% of the rap that’s out there. Extrapolating those figures to include grime leaves me to believe that these releases only hint at what is out there and that we have just begun to understand what’s available. It’s because of this that the future of grime is golden.

[This post was first published by Culture Bully.]