REVIEW: Lawds – House Of Lawds

House Of Lawds

Artist: Lawds

Album: House Of Lawds

Label: Lawd’s House

Rating: 6 / 10

Reviewer: A to the L

Regular alt.rap newsgroup heads should be aware of the existence of my man Lawds. Always the one who posted about the various beats he was making, he’s finally come through and dropped his own indie album, featuring UK cohort, and fellow alt.rapper Redeem. Track by track review starts… now…

1) Intro
A laidback, jazzy intro cut where Lawds sets out in a little interview of sorts what he hopes to achieve with this album over some a funky organ break. Ends with a nice freestyle where Lawds flexes his skills, previewing what is to come.

2) Billie Holliday
This beat kinda reminded me a little of LL’s ‘Pink Cookies’ remix. A simple piano break is dropped over some uptempo drums as Lawds displays his story telling skills, telling us about a payoff gone wrong.. There’s some really heavy bass here – so heavy in fact that it actually distorted the vocals a little. Couple this with the fact that the vocals are mixed at a level where they sound quite “tinny”, and it really meant that it was difficult to pick out everything that was being said.

3) Capital Punishment (feat. Redeem)
I gotta say – Redeem don’t sound nothing like his picture. You know how you see a pic of someone and you get a view in your head of how they’ll sound? Yeah well scratch that, cos I now confirm that Redeem does not sound like some Chelsea-supporting rentboy – he just looks like one. Anyways… Redeem and Lawds trade tails of guns, knives and drugs on this cut – the vocals are mixed much better here, while the beat is kinda oriental-sounding (to me anyway). Kinda laidback, perhaps the beat doesn’t fit the adrenillin-fuelled lyrics? I’d like to hear a Premo remix of this…

4) The Heist Part 1 (feat. Redeem)
Some nice scratches and female vocals on the intro to this cut which again features Redeem and Lawds in story telling mode. Redeem’s flow sounds kinda lazy on here – there’s a distinct lack of emotion here, despite the amount of bullets flying and bodies falling.Maybe this is the intention – to show what a cold hearted uncaring motherfucking ‘Deem is, but in my opinion he coulda came with more feeling. Lawds’ verse is more “moving”, displaying more changes in vocal tone, nore emotion.

5) Street Scriptures
A reggae influenced cut here, with some hard snares, and some laser-type “rude bwoy selector” effects sprinkled throughout. I’m impressed with Lawds verses here – he displays much more confidence on the mic, and rides the beat with ease. I likes…

6) Put Your Guns Down
This is a banger – straight up. The alt.rap collective gets a shoutout here, as we get a nice piano sample fading in and out over some short but catchy female vocals. Lawds pisses all over the image that some of the Hiphop big sellers portray today – fuck pulling out a weapon at the first sign of trouble. “I’m all about fighting and brawls, I ain’t about brandishing glocks”

7) Disloyal Subjects (feat. Redeem)
A straight up brag track. Redeem comes illy here, dropping his “Fat Joe on the metro trying to get by Flex” line to good effect. The muted trumpet effect is dope – I’m really feeling this. According to Lawds’ site, this is basically an unplanned jam session. Let me tell ya – y’all should get down like this more often. Lawds ensures he’s not one to sit in Redeem’s shadow with a another confident braggadocio flow. It ends to soon though!

8) Street Scriptures Part 2
Built around a sample from Sunshine Anderson’s ‘Where Have You Been’, this is straight up smoke music – something to lounge to. Lawds gets all abstract on us here, fitting the feel of this track perfectly.

9) The Hiest Part 2 (feat. Redeem)
To be honest, I wasn’t feeling this. The plinky-plonky feeling of the backing track, Redeem’s “I’m trapped in a tin can” mixed vocals… despite the fact that Lawds again holds it down, I just ain’t liking this.

10) 3 Women
This is better both in content, and quality. Lawds dedicates this track to the ladies in his life – his mother, his sister, his wife. A UK version of “Dear Mama”? Well, Lawds does pull this off – I enjoyed this a lot. I’ve seen a lot of rappers try “heartfelt” tracks like this, and the majority of the time, it comes off as a gimmick. They don’t mean it – you know they don’t, and they know YOU know they don’t, and it shows. Luckily Lawds is the exception to the rule…

11) Outro
A basic “thank you and goodnight” track. Of course God gets a shoutout here! A nice little freestyle winds the album up…

I got some bonus cuts on here too…

12) The Heist Part 1 Remix
Same vocals, bouncier beat. Redeem’s vocals are mixed a little low this time, with the effect that Lawds stands out. (Was this intentional??) Feeling this a little more than the original.

13) Capital Punishment Remix
I don’t like that “tinkly tinkly” effect – it sounds like a poor man’s “I Need Love”. Skip almost straight away – this adds nothing to the original…

14) Street Scriptures Remix
This beat is hot – although the vocal sample is a little slow, and sounds off beat. This is Mobb Deep-ish in the extreme. Ill.

15) Put Your Guns Down Remix
Dope. Even BETTER than the original – this is the best track on here. I love those scratchy / laser effects. This is a great example of a remix being well thought out, and perfectly executed.

16) The Heist Part 2 Remix
This is weaker than the original – the track actually sounds likes something from a wack 80’s low budget sci-fi flick. Stick with the original.

And that’s it. This is an admirable effort – certainly better than a lot of other indie releases I get sent for review. I gotta give major props to Lawds for the amount of work he’s put into this – both the lyrics, and the beats. Not all of it was to my liking, but there’s certainly enough there to show that he has potential.

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