REVIEW: Spooks – S.I.O.S.O.S.


Artist: Spooks

Album: S.I.O.S.O.S

Label: Antra

Rating: 9.5 / 10

Reviewer: Dippi

Every once in a while an artist in a particular genre comes around that has a totally different sound, and may totally change the genre and create a whole now subgenre if in fact they blow up. This is The Spooks. Consisting of four ill MC’s; Water Water, Hypno, Vengeance, Bookaso and a soul singer with a totally captivating and mesmorizing voice, Ming Xia, The Spooks are truely “on some other shit”. From the first track you know that this CD is just totally different, totally out there, and totally ill. Uptempo rhymes and a bangin and catchy beat bring you in and introduces you to the group with a chorus that defines the whole vibe of the LP:

“Spooks is on some other script thats why you be lovin it,
my crew thats the butta clique be glad you discovered it,
hip-hop originals Spook rock we runnin this,
playin in the club it hits radio be bumpin it.”

I believe on the musical tip, this LP should be an influence to every producer in the game right now. Every beat is original, layered, original, bangin, original, and… umm… original? Seriously though, with production by Odyssey, R Style, Sedni-Fi, Kay-Gee and Dan Askew, The Spooks bring up a crew of producers that personally I’ve never heard of, and would love to hear more from. There is not one bad beat on the disc, although some of the eccentricity will get you funny looks if it’s abnormally high on your headphones or in your ride. On ‘They Don’t Know’, Ming Xia shows that she’s not just here to be singing choruses, that she’s going to drop wisdom:

“Shopping for a deal with persistence
initially label heads were like ‘what is this?’
it won’t catch on you’re too original too different
conceptual hip-hop will be resisted
the pendulum will swing back again
classics set not follow the trend
hard to believe but easy to pretend (REVOLUTION) is why we began”

The whole Spooks style is extremely jazzy, as the song ‘Sweet Revenge’ shows. A great song, with most of the vocals by Ming Xia. A very smooth track with booming bass in the background and “soothing jazzy smoothness” in the foreground. A song about somebody who tried to play Ming Xia, but she gets her sweet revenge. But “apparently, you don’t know who I be” states Ming Xia. A narrative last verse of the song explains exactly what happened:

“Oh Mr Tough guy jiggy, mackadosius
pimp of the year, lady slayer, don’t lie say it
you seriously thought you could deal with Ming Xia
post her up and play a heartbreak game that works on the average everyday
but she aint that, so don’t paint that picture, Mr
All you know is that she’s vexed
and you’re concerned about your car getting wrecked
yet instead you feel a sharp blow punch your chest
Instantly your shirts burgundy
yeah, you wish she was the type to slash tires now dont ya?”

The imagery of those lyrics along with one of the smoothest beats I’ve heard all year sooth you enough to put you asleep, but interest you enough to keep you awake.

Moving through the LP comes a track called ‘Karma Hotel’. A medium paced drum beat with more soothing harmonies carry one of the illest story / concept rhyme I’ve ever heard. I call it a story / concept rhyme because there’s three different stories tied into the same parable. There are three different stories all set in the Karma Hotel. First story is about a man who comes into the hotel looking for excitement and finds himself in a game of russian roulette. He plays once and finds the risking of his life was the excitement he’s been looking for. He keeps playing and can’t beat the odds and eventually loses. The second verse is about a man in the Karma Hotel casino. He goes into the casino a young man and starts to win. He’s unstoppable and keeps playing there figuring he could become rich. He wastes his whole life getting money, he “made more money than we could imagine, but never lived life”. The third verse is a duet between Ming Xia and satan himself. Ming Xia decides that what she truely wants is sex. What she didn’t know that who she decided to have intercourse with was the devil himself. Her recklessness with her whole body leaves her feeling empty afterwards, and when she asks him “why do I feel so cold?” she’s told that she just made a pact with the devil and is stuck in the Karma Hotel for the rest of her life. This track definatly showcases the groups storytelling abilities.

Going onto ‘Something Fresh’ it’s a bangin track with heavy drums and shit and it’s totally banging. True hip-hop right here everything from verses that drop knowledge, a hype chorus, and even mic checks throughout the track as they drop more knowledge:

“The unorthodox rhyme execution that Spooks use
may leave you the consumer mildly confused
but actually you need to relax
and stop anticipating all the same rap patterns and drum tracks
adapted and practiced by alot of our favorite rap acts
too much integrity is getting lost in the art”

Theres also a bilingual joint in here. An English / Spanish commentary on the industry called ‘Swindley’s Maracas’. Swindley is a record executive trying to break the group up and doing all kinds of fucked up shit to make more money off of them. The song is probably even tighter if you actually understand the spanish part of it.

All in all, this is definatly ‘Something Fresh’from a group thats definatly on some ‘Other Script’. A hip-hop classic, first LP to get the D-GOD award… “Dippi’s Guarantee of Dopeness”… pick it up.

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