Friday, 8 October 2010

'State of the Art' - Hilltop Hoods (review)

OK, not UK Hip Hop, but perhaps the closest thing to it? Hilltop Hoods are perhaps the most well known Hip Hop crew in Australia and are definitely worthy of a global audience.

By all accounts 'State of the Art' is a coming-of-age type release however I couldn't comment on this since I've only heard single tracks from the crew in the past. It does seem, however, that these claims could be pretty accurate as the LP has some very thought provoking moments.

On 'Super Official' the crew get thinky about the work involved in being an underground Hip Hop group over a very triumphant and well-produced beat. Oh and they've included a pretty catchy chorus too. 'Still Standing' and its sampling of Scientist's 'Your Teeth In My Neck' keeps things musically addictive.

'Classic Example' - produced by DJ Nu-Mark of Jurassic 5 fame and Pharoahe Monch? Good? Yeah, no half. You'll love this one. 'Chris Farley' is a bit silly - the MCs imagine dying in the way that several different celebrities have done - other than the name checking of some important musicians and actors this is a pit pointless. 'The Light You Burned' featuring Trial angrily mourns lost relation - directed at lovers or an ex-record label?

Suffa's production on 'Last Confession' and 'Hillatoppa' cement the suspicion that the beats are this album's strength. It's not that they lyrics a re bad - they're extremely well written and actually lyrical, it's just that there's not too much new in the way of subject matter.

It's the closing track that struck me the most upon listening: 'Fifty in Five'. Suffa accompanies his production with over 100 bars of recent history commenting on everything from Amercian politics, cult films, wars, dead rappers and British politicians. If you only hear one track on this track, make it this one - this is where the coming-of-age comments originated. Excellent.

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