Album: Secular Stress
Label: 2Sick Music
Rating: 6 / 10
Women emcees? WOMEN emcees?!? Come on now, females can’t really spit. Lauren Hill and Rah Digga say HI with a sexy silhouette pose of a crotch grab and a middle finger. Queen Latifah steps off the Oscar-nominated movie sets to tell you to “get off my tits nigga and tell yo bitch to come here” while Lil’ Kim hides in shame (or should). Does that make me a hater? Bah, that’s what you get when you mess with Timmah!!! Anyway, a lesser known female raises a cute little hand wrapped around her debut CD imprinted with the Thundercats’ Cheetarah-like drawing of a minx gripping a mic captioned by the title “Secular Stress” and asks to be recognized as a female with something to say.
Say hello to Realistikk. Her bio identifies her as someone who “dislikes meaningless lyrics and prefers listening to music with substance.” I can feel that. This dirty Jerz born Cali resident is self-proclaimed “underrated” due to no sex lyrics. I noticed there’s no ass-all-out pics on her J-card or website. That’s not to say that she doesn’t have the physical assets that her counterparts put on the glass; she’s not deprived in that area in the least. The only body part she’s eager to flash us with is the one enclosed in cranial bone.
The message that all Realistikk wants is a chance is clear on the GI Joe-soundbyte intro of some kids underestimating a playmate because she’s “just a girl”. Gung Ho sets them straight though. Yo Joe!
The first thing you notice is her voice. It’s definitely distinct. Her accent is foreign to almost any Hip Hop you have heard before. She has somewhat of a cross between a midwest and Bay area accent. Her voice takes some getting used to to be able to actually listen to what she’s spitting but when you do you realize there is something there. ‘Hoboken to Oakland’ has her bringing in the album with the basic “I’m hot” bravado that is a staple in Hip Hop. An emcee has to let you know that they aren’t to be fucked with.
The production has a definite west coast flair to it as does the name of the cat that produces almost the entire album; G-Dubb. ‘From The Passed’ has Realistikk getting busy on a string laced track with a scratched hook cutting up her name. She really grabs your attention the first time with her content on the fourth track ‘Some Of Us’. G-Dubb gives up the board controls here and lets PJ Katz take over. It appears that while G-Dubb was away PJ passed the con to Eligh to produce ‘Supernatural’. Her delivery on this track sounds a bit like she’s reading and not feeling. Realistikk obviously has a wealth of knowledge though and she’s letting it be known. The lady can write that’s for sure.
‘Parable of the Wicked’ emits an ethereal climate, almost like a dream state. A vocal hook is replaced by one of scratches. Realistikk is coming off on some spiritual type ish that’s fits comfortably within the confines of the track. “Catching wreck” duties are shared on ‘Positivity Thru Elements’ between our hostess and her guest Twomp Twomp. The twangy synth backbone of the track adds to the appeal of this joint. Again, your attention is peaked higher on the next joint though. ‘Fornication’ is preceded by a fade in of Lil’ Kim whoring on beat. Moodswing 9 sets the beat while Realistikk spits with eloquent lyrics decrying the common practice of women flaunting “what’s between the hips”. She sheds some light on the situation in the hook “Fornication it’s your deadly inspiration, like animosity it causes major separation/ it’s why women are naked on every single station, in realization it’s the greatest spawn of satan.” ‘Brave New World’ holds your attention with an opera backed beat. The guest L’Roneous starts the track off hotly and Realistikk keeps it going. This is one of the best cuts on the album. Props to G-Dubb on the production.
Eligh is back behind the boards on ‘Controlled Substance’. Held down by heavy synth action and a short sound clip of Morpheus from the Matrix the beat rides kinda nice. An interesting note on this joint is the hook. Realistikk is backed up by a voice that sounds like Twiki from Buck Rogers replicating the chorus as she’s dropping. Inventive and creative, Mikey likes it.
Continuing on, Realistikk joins forces with John Doe on ‘Real Lies’and with Mars on the ‘Real Lies Remix’. Realistikk is preaching on the hook, “I’m amazed you embrace the lies you were taught, realize the real lies within the words that I brought”. I told you the girl could write.
We are treated to a story on ‘Beyond Soulmates’. Its a story about the difficulties of love when the two aren’t on the same page and how to make the relationship work. The drawback here is the hook. Although nicely written, the chorus is hurt by the singer. The voice isn’t completely horrible after several listens due to the strength of the overall song itself which helps you to bear with those vocals and they eventually become better.
‘Death of Privacy’ is another gem. Its a fantasy tale speaking on the foretold mark of the beast backed by a medieval sounding piano and string track.
So how does Realistikk and “Secular Stress” stack up? She’s a nice lyricist. Aside from a few flow issues that will come correct in time she has a good delivery. The main thing I think is that she needs to become a bit more comfortable. After chatting with her for a bit I realized that there is a nice personality in Realistikk that doesn’t really come through here too well. The music is heavily synth influenced that might turn some heads off to the beats. Overall though, it’s a pretty good debut from an artist that’s only been doing it for a few years; lyrics are the strong point here. Holla at your girl and peep the samples on her site and judge for yourself.