CYRUS MALACHI – BLACK ATHENA Review

By SUNEZ

 Greece is the faulty foundation of all Western/white/Caucasian civilization that follows it and everyone’s destructive yet productive mindset (all of us) that it has engulfed.  Numerous proofs abound where the true origin is in Egypt–not the first civilization of our Black Original ancestry–for the Western world.  Since then three super powers come to mind.  The underdeveloped savage Western world received serious aid through re-invigoration when the Moors (Islamic Black peoples of all shaded variations that collected and fused in their quest north through Africa into Europe) showed a crumbling Euro-Spain every aspect of civilization for seven hundred years (approximately 700 C.E. to 1400 C.E.).  To then be exiled in name and claim if not mind and blood so that a re-Euro’dSpain becomes a world power. Eventually, Britain and other countries enslaving the Original man of Africa coupled with the genocide of the Original man of the Americas changes economy.  The Western world is saved again with crops, assets (silver and gold), labor and knowledge they never understood from those they enslave and reek genocide upon.  Only the most pioneering savagery reigns today and we have the United States of America, the group of founding thieves put it all together with the greatest, most productive mental and physical labor force in the westernized history annals—the Black man.

So when London and the United States connect again musically through this rebellious, Original people culture of Hip Hop via one of its greatest MCs, he must name it Black Athena.  Black Athena, a major text by Martin Bernal, in the rise of proper scholarship that includes Cheik Anta Diop, Ivan Van Sertima, Chancellor Williams, etc., all proving definitively that our world, was founded by us, the Original people.  And so it is with Cyrus Malachi, making amazing, unapologetic lyrical, dark Boom Bap music that we miss.  Again.

Cyrus Malachi has a genuine gift for lyricism and a deep tone that powers his ideas, punctuates his details and emphasizes his emotions.  On his 2011 debut, Ancient Future, he offered the entire repertoire and can only follow with a work that focuses even more on the foundation set.  Black Athena links the truth of the text, that we have been used and abused, our offerings  misused and misappropriated while our lives have become generations of oppression to today’s reality via song.  Cyrus does what the international Hip Hop MC ought to.  He brings a horrid reality that is worldwide, detailing the oppression of his London corners and connecting them historically with our united roots.  Black Athena is a masterwork of rugged ethos and insightful revelation.  The beats are nothing but the most stripped down thudding, drum thumpers and the lyricism is exceptional from the verses to the song titles (i.e. “Tunnel Rats,” “Hydrochloric Sonnets,” “The Acacia Tree,” etc.)  It could joyously fool anyone sifting through an ol’ 1997 bin but it arrives now when it is most needed.

Cyrus is a slow flow architect over the mid tempo track and the cryptic driving nature of the tracks propel him.   On “Requiem,” his verse is as fluidly hypnotic as the droning background melody going in with “the walls of perception/ the wars of redemption/the whore’s intention/the cause of infection…Industrial prison complex/just another ism of conquest…” with a wordplay that is concentrated commentary—few words, deep insights.  However, he experiments out of his range applying the flow to different tempos and uses unique rhyme scheme techniques for diversity.  On “Temple of the Familiar” his verse spools forward with, “she shine like twin Suns/I bump her like dim sum/that shutters like wing chun/she’s at the edge of her precipice/suppressed in her edifice/dependent on benefits…” that is the epitome of rap melody when the similar sounds of the rhyme can create their own melody through the background Nina whooing.  He overwhelmingly triumphs with a double time flow on “Hardboiled,” rhyming, “bullets ricochet like Pinochet…keep the beat live always innovate…the Moor murder the gore/ I purpose more/ the words from the jaw/ serving the raw/ lost Gods of the lost generation/lost in blocks of mis-education/popping glocks for sick reputation/chopping crops with thick vegetation/clocking cops with indignation/concocting plots…” that is immediately noticeable rewind bliss.   Cyrus also has a definitive, understated passion that happens to jump out on “Papercuts” with intensity of anger and sharp enunciation that is booming enough to flow inside the bass drum.

 Still, Cyrus is an MC that usually is effortlessly incredible and his verbatim vocabulary choices are magnified by his pacing of deliberate emphatic hurt.  On “Tunnel Rats,” he shines with, “I’m a child of the diaspora/don’t wanna die a pauper/so we seek fire on the corner/modeling feudal systems/these blocks ain’t our home/the remodeling of ancient Rome/an acropolis of aging bones/politics and decaying homes/economists and inflating loans/vacant souls bass’d in stones/ po-po tracing phones/roll slow through the mason zones/slow mo’ when he face the chrome/Black children killing each other/in the muck and mire in the shit of the gutter…burning with hate like an effigy of enmity…”  His lyricism not only pictures the hell but builds with destructive force on the culprit structures that bloodsuck us.  Contraband” gives a broad portrait of the nature of the beast, the system’s media, propaganda, economic institutions, individual conspirators and just corrupted ways all merging to become this society that he will chronicle against and verse for the people.  On “Industrial Pastures,” his own experience as a young teen hoping to MC leads to a beautifully told portrait of the worst hells and the lost jewel to resurrect us.  Some of that brilliance reads, “What’s the purpose of this derelict day?/ No job so crime pays/ single parent, Black family survive days/captive in  experiment with western development for Eurocentric betterment.. where the 3rd World’s irrelevant/the dispossession of our elements and resources/has left the lost sheep the poorest among the poorest/run through the slums, be cautious/cuz the heat scorches and leaves mourners on doorsteps and porches…Before Aristotle impressed the Black apostles direct/who’s Art, architecture and sciences/sacred parchments and sacred papyruses/from eternity into timelessness/the Universe is inside of us…”

Beatwise, the producers chosen, from 7th Dan, Hellzecho, Starvirius, Astronaut Bee, etc., make the concentration to aural scrolls an addictive track turning of pages.  There is “Superfluidity” with a reverberating horn that fades, “Godspeed” with the robotic bleep and chopped vocal timing the thudding drums.  The eerie stuttered bass drum and the hiccupping snare clap with wailing call on “The Acacia Tree” or the beautiful simplicity of the booming “Tunnel Rats” to the sharper, more overt snare on flowing “Industrial Pastures” or the menacing bassline over the perfected Boom Bap on “Contraband.”  Change ups like the skipping break on “Hardboiled” defeat the assumption of monotony in Cyrus’ flow and dexterity levels.  Even the standard toughness as Lions Den 2” has the poured beverage massaging the driving bassline. The beats all have a steady violence, snares with a crunch that fights the bass drums pounding and hi-hats that don’t tick wildly but time the head bop and sync Cyrus’ distinct bars. 

Black Athena is another musical confirmation of the texts that Cyrus has named his work after.  An artist that is inspired by his true origin whether archaeologically or culturally, Cyrus Malachi is one of the great lyricists in the world today.  Black Athena is the 2nd solo testament to that.