Indie (April 27, 2010)
Review by Ahnon Knomis
The S.I. (Scribbling Idiots) massive is deep with talent and Ruffian is an echo of what the crew has brought with their recent onslaught of albums in 2010. As a Greenfield, Ohio resident Ruffians influences include “Wu-Tang Clan, Outkast, Goodie Mob, Atmosphere, Eyedea, Illogic, Killah Priest, Canibus, Nas, Qwel” ect. His influences are definitely evident as is his passion for his Christian faith and the combination is explosive.
Urge For Conscious Words is to the best of my knowledge Ruffians first solo effort. From jump you know what to expect as the Theory Hazit beat kicks in with pounding drums and deep baselines followed by Ruffian’s call for change. The lead off hook chants “And when the sun comes down, you’ll pray for rain / when you acting well, left by yourself you’ll feel the pain / it’ll be too late, it’ll be too late, it could be today” (Rapture) as the lyrics calling for those who live for the day to consider that tomorrow is not promised.
Ruffian as an emcee isn’t an awkward lyricist. As a matter of fact his word play is solid and always on point, on beat, and dynamic. Although you won’t find him spitting punch lines or being clever with a witty one liner you should expect like his influence that’s not Ruffians approach. Unlike his peers (Theory Hazit and Wonder for example) Ruffian’s lyrics seem more serious in nature and focused. That’s not a diss on either side simply a tactical observation like comparing Nas and Jay-Z – each having their own unique approaches. Ruffians focus is on painting a visual image with the canvas of a hard hitting beat and seams to stay away from the experimental side that some underground artists tend to gravitate towards (Smoke of Oldominion, or Mouth Warren’s debut comes to mind).
Production on Urge For Conscious Words from what I could tell was handled by Theory Hazit, and Mattman of his home crew. However, without the liner notes I can’t properly credit the producers involved so I’ll just give props to the two I could recognize. Features included a whopping 6 tracks where Cas Metah appeared, and one each by Elias, Shaw Bihl, 3rd Degree and 2-Tone.
I want to call out the good production on the album. The mixing was clean and the beats are crisp and hard hitting. A few of the highlights of the album included “Lion Roar” which reminded me of a West Coast Bone Thugs beat with a Scarface type of prowess and swagger. Then you switch it up for tracks like “Free Soul” that hits like a Common track from the Finding Forever album. Smooth vibrant stories kick up dust on vinyl crackles and clean drums with a stellar beat as a backbone for delivery. “What It Could Be” was another solid banger with an upbeat drum pattern and dialect of conscious words proving his album is worthy of it’s title.
There are more highlights and I could go on but I think you should pick this up and listen for yourself. There’s definitely a variety of music and content to sink your conscious lyric and beat cravings into… So go ahead and pull up a seat, pour on the baselines, turn up the radio, tune out your mind and just enjoy!
For fans of: Scribbling Idiots, Theory Hazit, Cas Metah, Sojourn, Corey Red, Nas, Outkast, Goodie Mob, Canibus, Common Sense, Ohmega Watts, Elias, Mouth Warren, Wonder Brown
Purchase CD – download – iTunes