The Soul is a Blues-rooted sadness and triumph-searching wail elevated in rapture of amplified melody. The melody that Evil calls the hook but what we ought to understand as the gloried loop. A loop of punctuation that accentuates it’s youngest child of Hip Hop. A child that gives greater detail on Man’s issues than all of its conga’d ancestors and bongo’d relatives. An assembled family of tracks bound so tightly in title, verse and orchestra we could document a Nation through one greatly aspiring Black man.
A Black man holding the verse through this legacy of Creation is now Shake C and the nation of commentary is the fraudulently ferocious United States of America. America Inc., the wax on a corporation with a wonderfully worded declaration for its employees. Employees, formerly named slaves, once hopefully honored workers mining survival out of a completely corruptive constitutional handbook of ever increasing alteration. Alterations that a gang of tracks chained together by Shake C beautifully rhyme proses the fight to possibilities of the peoples’ betterment.
America, Inc.’s theme seems known in a desensitized world that knows legends as Public Enemy and heard jewels from Immortal Technique and Hasan Salaam. Yet, Shake C, with his southern accent and inflections telling has a lyrical dexterity and content range making him one of the best MCs you’ll ever hear directly (properly) influenced by OutKast. Shake, a true outkast, as Big Rube defined, has mastered many of their abilities which isn’t supposed to be possible epitomized in the songs’ structure’s artistic lure masking the depth of the many insights. The tools originate from the breath control that allow him to write in rhyming layers (i.e. the title track) and use intense word coupling (“Home of the Brave”) to match the melodics of Woodenchainz tracks he mainly bars through here. MCs of this caliber will even make an odd track (“Bruce Lee (Can I Kick It?)”) to display the success of their talents. And “as his notebook bleeds” personally from the direct journaling of his own life (“Wounded Notebooks”) and his life with the Art (“A Pound of Flesh,” “The Soundtrack”), he can pulse his acknowledging braggadocio to charge life into the world his verses hope for as on “Mirror, Mirror(The Reflection),” an incredible synopsis of this hell. When the topics become similar regarding the wake up his mic techniques shift as on “Religion & Nutrition” with a stuttered pacing that lets him categorize squalor. Shake C’s ability to magnify his micro reality to portrait a macro truth is the album’s unifier (“Imagine if you were in his shoes/ what you would do raised by the tube/ we live and die by the rules/it’s gotta be the shoes/fresh to def/ but watch your step/so you wanna be the star watched from every direction/told you I was trouble/I am what you made me/dead man walking anyway…” – “Mortal Kombat (Demons)”).
As an MC, Shake can keep it heavy for nearly 50 minutes and cause rewind merely with technique yet the production is exceptional. The immediate appeal is the constant barrage of the illest Soul crates mined, looped and chopped brilliantly by Woodenchainz and others. All mixed down and mastered by Woodenchainz he is one of the best producers of this decade. His works don’t merely inspire MCs to draft hooks but war with complete verses that he layers his tracks around perfectly. The first listens you sing, the next 100 you have the choice to sing or verse along. There are the wails of the title track, the piano melodies crescendo-ing to a “yeah! on “The Rose’s Revenge,” the Wonderful use of interlacing Shake’s playlist on “The Soundtrack,” the horn blasting “Home of the Brave” and the classic tempo changing, break isolating “American Horror Story” to name a few. The choice tracks from other producers from Ed G’s wooing “Mortal Kombat” and Kevlaar’s daring use of BP that RZA used beautifully on “Babies” amplifying its cascading bells to a driving mid tempo inquisition for Shake to burn politricks on. Kevlaar’s work producing “Made In America” with a beautifully deafening bass drum, sharp call-to-arms horn and gorgeous lady vocals along with his intense bombing of hypocrisy thrust on his quality of life is a classic featuring. All on an album that features family with no fillers but filled with great lines (“Fasten your laces/move past man’s equations/cashing gold’s a fool’s payment/wipe the drool from ya fukn faces…” – Woodenchainz on “The Rose’s Revenge”), the talents only yield to a lot of hard work on craft.
Much of America, Inc. is so incredibly layered verbatim and sonically that its content can be ignored easily. Still, the repeated listening it provokes lets all of it fuse into the mind as if a righteous hook exists somewhere out there. This is an album that the happy savage can pursuit along with in between disclosing his life to the Jigga app. Hip Hop was that Art to so many, in despise or in love of it, that would chronicle the world they refused or couldn’t see. Where we would now break our necks bopping in the contradiction of the horrid world that oppresses us for it still gives us the chance to revel in the beauty of hell’s articulation. To then be inspired to take a next step and be a solution was the ultimate realness and you’d finally prove you honored the wax. That was the way it was. That is the way it ought to be. That is what Shake C is leading us to and what America, Inc. is Break-Bodying Our Youth to.