War Records (2011)
Review by SSRC
In the ever changing world of business and hip hop, new labels show up all the time. It usually starts with someone learning more about an aspect of the industry and then setting out on their own to try and do it better. I like this formula because it gives the business person or artist the chance to shine and try new things. I use the terms, recording artists and business person, because starting a label involves a bit of both. In this way, Man of War has stepped out from under Syntax Records and started War Records. Most new labels start out with a compilation that features the label’s roster while also showcasing some other artists. This is a great way to introduce the world to what the new start up has to offer.
Enter Waging War.
This compilation is packed with 18 tracks that vary in sound and quality. This is normal for any compilation that runs this length. A compilation is meant to be a sampler of what the label has to offer. With a compilation, you don’t expect to like all of the tracks but you do expect to find some artists that you may want to find out more about.
This particular compilation starts off with Man of War going in solo over a Dave Santos beat. If you’ve heard the Dave Santo’s album Stages you will have heard this beat as an interlude. Wow…Man of War does the beat justice. He flows over this beat with confidence and aggression. In my opinion, this could be the standout track on the album. The song is an introduction to the label, as it is called “War Records.” It’s a short song that offers a great opener to the album.
In the liner notes of this compilation I read that Absent Minded and Man of War have an album coming out. If the song “Change Grow Learn” is a sneak peak of what that album might sound like we will all be very lucky. This song is a real standout track. The beat by Glitchy Valens is dark and hard and again Man of War goes in on the track. He is hungry right now. Absent Minded has a great verse with many lyrics you will be quoting in your head after the song is done.
Next up is a song by the Hyborian Warriors which is Sintax the Terrific, Absent Minded and Man of War. Glitchy Valens again laces the emcee’s with the perfect back drop as all three emcee’s spit to their strengths and leave you wanting more. Silver has a track called “Below Zero” which talks about being low and struggling. He has a unique flow and the song has more of a radio feel but it works. He shows up on a couple other tracks on the album and again stands out. He will be an emcee to watch. Another standout emcee is Lee Green. His name is pretty standard but when you hear his solo song “The Blood” you will be pleasantly surprised.
After a couple of times listening through this album, there are a few things I observed. First, Man of War is a super emcee. He has a great roster but he is the one that stands out and the one that you remember over and over again. I knew he was good but this album has demonstrated that he has just gotten better. Secondly, Glitchy Valens is really good behind the boards. I hadn’t heard much from him before this project but I will definitely be checking out what he is doing next. Thirdly, this label has a huge roster (check out the War Records Facebook page) and everyone is pretty good. There are no cringe worthy tracks on this compilation which is also positive. It’s far from being perfect but it serves it purpose. I think it is a great introduction to what is in store from War Records and after reviewing this album, I am excited to see what they do next.
For fans of: Redcloud, Syntax Records, Apple Jaxx