Artist: Thirstin Howl III
Album: Serial Skiller
Label: Skillionaire Entertainment
Rating: 7 / 10
Reviewer: A to the L
The Polo Rican is back! Brownsville resident Thirstin Howl returns to the frontline with his third album “Serial Skiller” – this one dedicated to his mother, who’s photo is on the front and back inlay covers.
Reading the press release that came with this album, I was surprised to see exactly how much work Thirstin Howl puts in behind the scenes, not just on his own and his Spitfactory compatriots’ joints, where he writes, produces, and designs the joints, but also outside the Spitfactory stable. Did you know for example, that he’s appeared in the Rap Olympics, with Eminem and Juice? That he’s worked for MTV as a production assistant? Me neither… so lets see if the quality of this release matches the emcee’s workrate.
The title cut is also the first track, and over a fast paced beat with a lot of horns, Thirstin shoots from the hip with some ill punchlines – “As a solo artist I’m one of the best groups” being one of the standouts. Unique London, Spitfactory’s resident female emcee, (and a UK one to boot) flits in and out of the mix, urging Thirstin on to do more damage. Dope.
Next track (‘Walk The Walk’) is a total departure from the previous style – almost Miami Bass like, in tempo and production. Not bad, but not great either. The chorus is kinda annoying. Unique London again pops up, but still doesn’t drop a verse. I’m fiending for a verse from this lady – if she attacks the mic when she’s dropping verses, the way she does when she’s simply talking, then she should be ill.
Some of you may have heard TH’s homage to Biggie, where he flips Chris Wallace’s classic, and turns it into ‘Dreams Of Fuckin’ A Cartoon Bitch’. More slow paced than the original, and to be honest a bit “gimmicky”. I think Biggie just set the bar so high with the original, that no-one’s ever gonna reach that standard.
Luckily things pick up with ‘Brownsville Bullet Goldcard Membership’. A loping MOP-esque beat, with an ominous bassline running underneath, and Thirstin getting crazy violent with the lyrics equals near perfection. I’m feelin’ this in a major way. Check this out…
“Yo, when I didn’t have a biscuit,
I carried all the knives mommy’s kitchen was missing…
Pistol playmate, police air raid,
I got a bullet with your name and today’s date,
Heavy artillery, hard liquor, live on the weak,
Broad shouldered, soldier,
Fought for my stripes, gloves on tight,
With the heart to rob a bank with a butterknife.”
After “Mr Mojon”, which is basically TH busting in Spanglish over a beat that would have been at home on Ice T’s Power album back in 1988, we move onto what I was fiending for earlier – a Unique London solo cut!
‘Who This British Bitch Is?’ is one of those tracks that you’ll start off hating, and then keep coming back to to see if it really was “that bad”. Personally I love this – but I know that the production and the vocals are gonna piss a lotta people off. To me, the track, the beats, the whole attitude, just pushes this one off the meter – I’m loving it. The Austin Powers samples just fit perfectly into this joint too.
Moving on, ‘The Cards Life Dealt Me’ is an autobiography of sorts, and its another gem. A mid-tempo banger, where TH comes correct with the help of Richie Balance. The next cut, ‘The Scat Song’ has a bluesy feel, very laidback, with a saxaphone hook, as TH offers a XXX version of Jigga’s ‘Girls Girls Girls’. Another one I’m feeling.
Holy shit. Now there’s a voice I ain’t heard in the longest…Yes folks, Professor X (X-Clan’s spiritual leader) is back, on ‘The Streets Don’t Listen’. As usual he introduces, and completes the track in his usual style, even dropping his trademark “Siiiiiiiiiiissssssssssssyyyyyyyyyyy” at the end. In between X’s mic time, Big Boo, Rack Lo, and Shillz Da Realz all trade verses with Thirstin, over a simple but effective beat. Shit, I’m just amped to hear X again!!
‘Keep It Balance’ and ‘Spit Squadian’ both feature Richie Balance sharing mic time with TH – the latter cut also has Rack-Lo dropping a verse. The tracks are totally different though, and serve to illustrate how the Spit Factory members are comfortable flowing over different types and tempos of beats. Where ‘Keep It Balance’ is a slow paced, head nodder, ‘Spit Squadian’ is a more uptempo track, with an insistent bassline constructed of horn samples.
As the name suggests, ‘PF Cuttin’ The Wax Rippa’, gives the resident Spit Factory DJ / producer a chance to display his skills on the 1200’s – kinda similar to the way PE and Ultramagnetic used to have DJ tracks on their albums where Terminator X and Moe Love could get busy. Its definately a plus to be able to hear a DJ throwdown – not enough artists put the spotlight on their DJ. Thumbs up for this.
The closer is a takeoff of a famous phrase. ‘I Bust The Shots That Stop The Party’ features Big Boo, and is one that will be appearing on mixtapes soon. Trust me on that. A dope way to close the album.
Overall, I’m impressed. Impressed in the quality of the LP. Impressed in the fact that TH is confident in his own skills, and the skills of those around him, and gives them a chance to shine. Impressed by the fact that they step up to the plate, and come correct. This is one you should think about picking up.