No Skits Vol. 1
Since Emerson, Lake, and Palmer’s classically influenced art-rock died (culturally) by the hand of punk rock’s anarchism, no element of popular music’s landscape has been more pompous, extraneous, and unbearably self-indulgent than the hip-hop skit. Ergo, a rap group calling their album No Skits Vol. 1 is the hip-hop equivalent of a flailing Darby Crash reducing the bloated rock dinosaur back to its tribal elements. Boston’s Hangmen 3 exemplify a decidedly modern take on old-school revisionism. If the Jurassic 5’s updated the visceral energy of traditionally simple old-school posse cuts, Hangmen 3 revise the Geto Boys’ over(t)ly violent and sexual hyperbole for a hip-hop nation obsessing over gleam, gloss, verbosity, complicated lexicon, street credibility, and, well, bullshit. Like J5, Hangmen 3 are concerned with only three elements: beats, rhymes, and life. But for H3, the beats are simplistic, gritty, and catchy self-produced Eastside scuzz; the rhymes are splattery, explicit, and ferocious cross between Mobb Deep neo-gangsta and L.O.X. ghetto supastar-isms; and the life .well, as Hangmen’s Ray Benzino says in “Holla Back: “We them type of niggas that’ll leave you dead in the car.” With no intros, no outros, no interludes, and an eclectic production that runs the gamut from minimalist thumps to cinematic bluster, No Skits – Vol. 1 may be cherished in the future by the hip-hop community with the same reverence others view back-to-basics milestones as Bob Dylan’s John Wesley Harding, the Germs’ (GI), or Nirvana’s Nevermind.
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