After hearing the Murs release recently, I thought maybe El-P’s Definitive Jux was becoming, perhaps, too prolific, maybe even a little sloppy. Don’t get me wrong. Murs is aiight; but I’ve grown accustomed to a much higher standard from the label that’s brought us Aesop Rock, Cannibal Ox, RJD2 and Mr. Lif (who Rolling Stone recently deemed an artist to watch).
Ravipops has laid all those fears to rest. South Bronx’s latest golden child, C-Rayz Walz (“The Sun Cycle MC” and member of the Stronghold collective) brings it with his idiosyncratic “The Art of Energy” style. Faintly reminiscent of ODB, C-Rayz can definitely flow — like the opening track of this disc claims. Walz’s style is an enigmatic roller coaster ride, twisting and turning around beats like it was caught up in a salt water taffy machine. Nothing overwhelmingly profound here (except “Dead Buffaloes”), but it’s highly entertaining and distinctive. He ain’t bitin’ shit, no bling-blinging, hawking Italian designer clothes, or whatever bullshit’s been clogging up the sewer of radio lately. This is MCing the way it’s supposed to be — with the mic holder carving out his own style to rock the party.
Along with long-time producer/DJ Plain Pat (who’s knocked out some damned good beats), C-Rayz has an impressive debut on his hands. There are a couple songs (and I do mean two out of 17 songs) that could’ve stayed in the studio, but songs like “Elephant Guns,” “’86” (think Just-Ice’s “Going Way Back” for a new generation), “Buck 80,” “Floe” and “The Essence” make Ravipops a memorable effort.
Neither Def Jux nor its fans have anything to worry about when it comes to the label’s future.
Definitive Jux: http://www.definitivejux.net/