Album: Neon Flux Presents… The Cypha
Label: Neon Flux
Rating: 6 / 10
You might well ask yourself “Who are Neon Flux and how are they in a position to €˜present €™ anything?” and to be honest you €™d be well within your rights to. But, before you start jumping to cynical conclusions understand that Neon Flux Entertainment are truly out there doing it for themselves, putting out their music until they can get someone else to help them do it.
As such, “The Cypha” is the first selection of tracks coming from the Neon Flux lock-up, with all production, MCing and recording done in house in the simple hope of getting their talents heard on a wider scale. If it worked for the Wu all those years ago, why can €™t it happen again, right? Unfortunately, the bad news is that these guys certainly are quite far from the Wu of 1992 but given the incredible raw talent possessed within those 9 men surely its somewhat of an unfair comparison to make. While “36 Chambers” exhibited virtually the finished article, “The Cypha” is purely a showcase; a platform for the Neon Flux family to flex their variety of styles. As such, the collection feels a little disjointed, moving from full length tracks to short snippet like verses, mixing the thugged out (‘Automatic’, ‘Rep Dat’, for example) with the occasional more laid back funk of ‘False Armor’ among others.
This is most definitely the exception rather than the rule however, with the majority of the production based around simple moody string or horn samples which from time to time sound poor enough to embarrass even Swizz Beatz. When this mould is broken however, such as on the dope ‘Challange!!’ the result is very impressive, suggesting that perhaps they do deserve a chance to break into the big time.
Lyrically, again the crew can be seen to be lacking a little something to get them noticed as tired couplets about capping people are just not the way to break out onto a major label. But maybe that €™s not Neon Flux €™s ultimate intention; given the amount of artists who have sacrificed artistic control and integrity for piles of cash, perhaps by just making the music that they themselves want to hear, in spite of what others think, they €™re at least in control of their own compromise, and if this is the case, more power to them. It is clear however that they would undoubtedly benefit from better production equipment but if this only comes at the expense of their musical pride, is it a step they €™d be willing to take? Only time will tell, but this compilation provides at least a diverting look at the other side of the glamorous rap world that Jay-Z etc. now live in, where money is an object and your heart truly has to be in it to survive.