Album: Global Domination
Rating: 7 / 10
Reviewer: DJ MF
Not a name that many know now, but soon enough, they will make their mark on the hip hop world. This album, “Global Domination”, marks their latest foray into the culture.
Based out of Steubenville, Ohio, and boasting a Wu-Tang-esque crew running 9 deep (Silent Stepchild, Chalaunt Styles, S.E.N.E.C.A., Gods Wil, Skeet, Ya-Ya, I.C.U., Infamous, and Heithcliff), they’re a crew which seems to have been influenced heavily by the east coast underground scene and the aforementioned Wu-Tang sound, if this album is any indication.
One of the things that will catch your ear immediately about this CD is the impressive production values (the majority of production is handled by Silent Stepchild). Oftentimes, indie releases have the necessary skills, but lack proper sound quality – this is not the case with “Global Domination”. Every snare kick, bass drop, and key sounds perfect. Additionally, the vocals never overpower the beat, and vice versa. An overlooked segment of many an independent release to be sure.
Things start off with the hype track ‘What’s Really In A Name’, with it’s dark and melodic bassline, and eerie flute backing, where the Autnoyz crew basically tell you who they are. A dope opener, and does what it should do – introduces you to the sound, and the MC’s.
The next track, ‘Overflow’, speeds the pace up a bit, with a much faster paced drum loop, and a nicely chopped, albeit shortish piano loop. However, even with the shortness of the piano, the way it’s chopped makes it sound pretty dope, and overall the impression is pretty creative. The lyrics are basically your standard battle stuff, with some very nice flow by the MC – unfortunately I have NO idea who of the 9 it is. What’s also nice is the way that the chorus fits PERFECTLY with the lyrics. I mean, it meshes so well, you might even miss it- which gives the feeling that dude is just flowing for the entire duration of the song. Nice.
Moving on, the mournful sounding ‘The Best Who Ever Did It’ is next. Like I said, it sounds very sad, with an opening consisting of a haunting woodwind loop, and some sparkly keys. Unfortunately, I’m a little let down by this track, because I think that the lyrics let down the music. With something like this, I’d have liked to hear something a little more introspective perhaps. Instead, it’s basically another ‘we’re better than you’ track. So a 50/50 track in my opinion.
Some jazzy sounds introduce the next track, ‘Since You Left Me’, accompanied by some synth stabs, and the vocal stylings of Ya-Ya, the singer of the crew. And basically that’s it. There’s no rapping in this track- it basically serves as a solo Ya-Ya showcase. She does a nice job, with good range, but her slower paced singing doesn’t work that well with the faster paced drums, and even worse, the beat doesn’t really change up at all for the duration, till the end, where instruments are pulled out one by one. A little more beat change up, and a slower drum pattern would have made this a nicer cut. Overall, not a bad offering though.
Back to the hip hop, and ‘Blaze The Sound Wavez’ is next on deck, and we’re treated to a slamming track. A pounding bassline with accompanying hard drums, and some sprinkles of keys, and a siren-like sound effect, along with what sounds like a French voice sampled in the background. This is some classic sounding east coast stuff right here done by Silent Stepchild. The lyricism stands up to the music as well, with some more rapid fire spitting by the MC’s, but again, we run into the problem of a) the same old same old braggadacio ish, and b) the fact that I can’t really tell the MC’s apart. Their flows are FAR too much alike, and their voices sound alike as well.
The Alchemist sounding ‘Dangerous Mindz’ follows, again utilizing a sadder theme, and this time, the Autnoyz crew holds it down properly, with the lyrics holding their own- ranging from commentary on the prison system, to the trials and tribulations of their youth. It’s not anything you haven’t heard before, but they do it nicely, and this time, remedying the issues I had before, the MC’s are easily discernible, and the changing of their flows gives the song a lot more life. A dope cut.
We reach the first of the guest produced spots on the LP next, and Wu-Tang heavy hitter 4th Disciple steps in with ‘Should’ve Known (This Was Hip-Hop)’. Amazingly however, he’s upstaged by the rest of the production on the LP thus far. The beat is fairly simplistic, with a standard drumbeat, and some cinematic violins. Nothing else really. Not bad, not good. Just boring. Everytime you think you’re going to get a nice drop, it just reverts to the same old same old. Luckily, the lyrics hold up their end, with some nice spits about the hip hop game, and the dangers of navigating through it. Autnoyz REALLY comes off sounding like Killarmy on this track, at least to my ears. It might just be the production though.
Things speed up production-wise after the preceding snoozer, with ‘The Hustle’ featuring Big Bugsi. The apparent infatuation that Autnoyz has with everything Wu is in full effect with this track, which is basically the same as ‘Should’ve Known’ but with a faster drum beat, and a higher in the mix violin loop. Fine on its own, but placed right after a similar sounding track, it causes a great sense of monotony.
‘My Life’ follows, and Silent Stepchild returns to my good side, with an inventive, yet deceptively simple beat, featuring a short vocal loop, some awesome scratchiness that makes the track sound grimy as fuck, and a playful little bassline. The lyrics are dope as well- the basic premise being that living your life is your business, and how you live it is up to you. There’s the standard weed/money references, but it’s still a dope concept. This is easily the best track on the LP up to this point.
Featuring South Paw, the next track, ‘There Is No Competition’ quickly takes that crown with a side of Autnoyz that is unheard up to this point- a more playful sound. The contrast between this track and the rest of the album is spectacular. While all of the preceding tracks are set in the east coast tradition, this seems tailor made for the clubs, with upbeat lyrics, and beat incorporating a bass heavy theme, and joyful drums interspersed with some soaring violins. Not only that, but the addition of a scratched chorus makes it all the doper. If this is the exception to the Autnoyz sound, it’d be nice to hear more of it, that’s for sure.
We head back to the thugged out sound with the next track, but instead of being bored, it seems like as the album is going on, Autnoyz is getting better at doing it. The track is one of those preachy ‘live your life the right way’ cuts, but doesn’t come off like it. In addition to the stellar lyrics, the beat is something to behold, with a gorgeous guitar lick serving as the rhythm section, some horn stabs, a soaring violin choral section, and a very laidback feel. It sets the mood PERFECTLY.
Following a short sung interlude by Ya-Ya, the track ‘Facts Is Facts’ emerges, and it gives off a seriously spooky feel. Again, a guitar loop is used nicely, but it’s the stutter step drums that’ll catch your attention, as well as the echo effects, and the random voices that are whispering in the background. Apart from that though, the lyrics let down a little bit. It’s not that they’re not performed properly – it’s just that by this point of the album, generic braggadacio boasts are well, kind of boring.
The second guest produced track, this time by JELLIS, entitled ‘It’s So Crazy’ is next, and to put it rather bluntly, I think it’s not very good. From the fairly off-key singing, to the horribly mismatched beat that just sounds WAY too shiny, this track seems extremely out of place on the album. There’s no other way to put it. Did I mention this was another singing only track?
‘We Live Tonite’, the second to last track on the LP, reminds me a lot of ‘Facts Is Facts’, minus the ‘horrorcore’ vibe. Meaning, the same old lyrical clichÃ©’s but minus a lot of the mood that made me like the production work on that track. Again, not good, and not bad- just kind of boring.
It pains me to hear the beat used for the ‘Outro’. It’s got an incredible horn loop over some hard pounding drums- reminiscent of a lot of early nineties Beatminerz or Pete Rock beats. Unfortunately, it ends after about 15 seconds, after which we’re treated to an untitled bonus track.
Luckily, the bonus track redeems the mediocrity of the final two tracks of the LP, with an incredibly inventive water drop sound laced over yet another stutter-step drum beat layered with a mournful horn sample. The production is incredibly layered on this track. Not much to talk about on the lyrical front once again however- bragging, good flows, but little differentiation.
Which basically sums up “Global Domination”. They definitely have the skills to succeed in hip hop today. Their production work is definitely up to par – interestingly enough, the beats that let me down the most were the guest produced spots, so Silent Stepchild is definitely doing his thing. Probably the biggest problem I have with the LP, and with Autnoyz as a crew is that many of their members sound too much alike. To be honest, although there are 9 members in Autnoyz, most of the time listening to the LP I got the impression I was listening to a 2 member crew. I’m not quite sure how that would be remedied, outside of some purposeful changing of flows. Also, while the attempts at an R&B/hip hop hybrid are to be applauded, it doesn’t come off very well, as the two R&B tracks seem to drag the album down at their points in the album – plus it doesn’t seem like the production is very well suited to it at this point.
While Autnoyz is precariously on that ledge between sounding like a Wu-Tang B-team group, and their own individual sound, they seem to straddle it fairly well. Plus, as they show on ‘There Is No Competition’, they CAN move out of that mould, and in my opinion, SHOULD. The room for growth is there, they just have to go for it. Definitely a solid release, with a number of 5 star gems – recommended.