Artist: MF Grimm
Album: The Downfall Of Ibliys
Label: Day By Day Entertainment
Rating: 9 / 10
Reviewer: DJ MF
MF Grimm. A name revered in the underground. A name that the majority of hip hop heads have never heard of. Criminally slept on. Criminally ignored, while the multitude of hip pop acts out there get radio play. Oops, I’m beginning to sound like another uppity hip hop website. Excuse me. But seriously, the man is ignored by much of the ‘underground’ scene as well… funny how the game works sometimes.
Following up on his double 12″ release with partner in rhyme MF Doom, where he outshone his more well known fellow, Grimm is back with “The Downfall of Ibliys.” So what hath the under-underground hero wraught?
Things start off with the dope ‘Time And Space’. The entirety of the producers responsible for Common’s “Like Water For Chocolate” need to take notice. THIS is how melancholy is done. Laced with an almost spacy feel, this track will have you nodding your head, as you strain to get all the lyrics in your head. And what lyrics. Dealing with the plight of the poor, and the struggle to uplift themselves, this track is on some serious deep ish. Impressive.
Judging by the title of the next track, ‘Life And Death’, you’d think that things were only going to get… umm… Grimmer. Luckily, the beat raises you up from the preceding, featuring a lively horn loop, and a nice disco-ish bassline. The lyrics are on another level again, as Grimm discusses life… but treating life as a woman. Probably the nicest part of the track is when Grimm says he’s starting to fool with Coma, and Life is calling him a cheater. Great stuff.
The impressive production continues with the dramatic beat found on ‘Freedom’. Simply put, it’s an almost operatic experience. Interestingly, Grimm switches up his flow completely on this track. Rather than the almost conversational tone found on the first two tracks of the LP, Grimm uses a jerky one word at a time flow instead. It doesn’t sound as good, but the change up is impressive nonetheless.
‘Foolish’ is up next, and Ashanti just RIPS this track over the Debarge/Biggie beat. Oops. Wrong ‘Foolish’. I’ll try to stay away from the shitty jokes from now on. Nevertheless, ‘Foolish’ is next, and features the talents of the aforementioned MF Doom and Megalon. This is probably the first track on the LP that I wasn’t feeling too much. The horn used is far too repetitive, and neglects to change up during the track. Likewise, the lyrics fail to hold my attention as well, with Megalon in particular coming a little weakly, and Doom outshining everyone. Meh.
‘Together’ follows, and OH MY GOD, is this jazzy piano line absolutely breathtaking. Maybe the best I’ve ever heard. The beat is rushing, almost like on fast forward, and likewise, Grimm keeps his flow moving quickly. The lyrics? Dealing with what to my ears sounds like a beatdown, killing, and a kidnapping. Brutal stuff, but with that beautiful piano line, it’s like you’re hearing subject matter akin to Barney.
An intermission follows, but instead of 30 seconds of blathering on and on in a useless skit, instead we’re treated to ‘Break Em Off’ from the aforementioned double 12′ MF Doom/MF Grimm release. It’s just as dope here as it was there… albeit cleaned up a bunch (the vinyl version was VERY scratchy).
Megalon guests again on ‘Rain Blood’, and again I’m not too impressed. The beat is VERY busy, and I’m not feeling it too much, although at least it has a semblance of rhythm to it (I’ll let you guess what other album I’m referring to). Skipperoo. STOP MAKING INDUSTRIAL/HIP HOP BEATS PEOPLE!
A pair of tracks, titled ‘Voices Pt.0’ and ‘Voices Pt.1’ follows, both utilizing the same beat. Part 0 has Grimm, Part 1 has Doom. Both dope, both working together nicely, although I’m not feeling the lounge music sample that much. Why not just put the two verses together though?
A sappy R&Bish guitar lick introduces ‘Yes You Are’, and indeed, we’re gonna be treated to a more personal track from Grimm. In all seriousness though, this is another tight track, mushy beat aside, as Grimm opens up, thanking his family and girl for sticking by him, and basically FORGIVING the people who shot him many years ago. Incredibly tight.
The mellow vibe continues with ‘I.B.’s’, which this time throws in a nice organ and a funky break as well to liven things up. It’s a little boring, especially considering the track it follows. Call it another skipper. ‘To All My Comrades’, which follows, serves almost as a speech to those struggling to get by, and suffering under the yoke of racism. If all spoken word was like this, it would have a life beyond coffeeshop houses.
‘Howl’ is next, and if I’d heard JUST the beat, I’d have thought it was a Non Phixion production. There’s an almost carnival sounding chime running in the background that crazily speeds up and slows down, along with a synth that makes the backbone of the beat. The track itself is very sing-songy, as Grimm once again changes up his flow, this time rhyming about, of all thing, being a wolf. Although I’m sure it’s metaphorical. I HOPE it’s metaphorical.
The temptation to use cheesy 70’s riffs once again rears its ugly head, as ‘Words’ does just that. I can’t feel the beat too much, but the lyrics are definitely on point, as Grimm confesses his love for music and his life, even in times of distress. A dope piece. And fine, I’ll give daps on the use of the harmonica.
The final song on the album ‘Teach the Babies’ will immediately make you think of the RZA – at least the beat will. Haunting and soaring viola, with a murky drum and bass pattern. The deal here is a sampled voice (Sesame Street) going through the alphabet, with Grimm rhyming off each letter. It almost sounds lazy the way he spits it, but the mood created is incredible. Probably my favorite song on the album, for the way that he meshes the beat with the vocals. Just crazy sounding.
So I questioned above, what has Grimm wrought?
A VERY dope album.
It runs short, but don’t let that fool you. If ever an album deserved the title ‘concentrated illness’, this is it.