The Hieroglyphics Crew is a necessary study in consistent excellence. After 2012’s releases that included solo albums from Del the Funky Homosapien x Parallel Thought [Attractive Sin ], Tajai x Sleeprockers [Machine Language], Phesto Dee [Background Check], Pep Love [Rigmarole] and Opio [Vulture’s Wisdom Volume 2], they are one of the rare, great Hip Hop stories of brothers successfully earning the props and the paper for what they create. Just as the other great Hip Hop MC crews (Wu-Tang Clan, Boot Camp Clik), Hiero has the potential for a variety of team ups that can highlight and explore their abilities further. With Opio and Pep Love merging as First Light they merge Opio’s every man complex lyricism with Pep Love’s rolling flow spiritual revolutionary vibe.
Hip Hop is now a music that has a history of veterans of varying eras. There is also an ignorance now of a music that has more possibility and actuality for incorrect histories and assumed expectations to effectively mar veterans from being heard. On Fallacy Fantasy, Opio and Pep narrate their daily observations with insights on the hells that surround them. The beauty of the content is its natural presentation. They don’t need to explain the abhorrence of a rat or the exaltation of daily pleasures. They just exude it all in feats of skill.
Opio is the most prolific Souls of Mischief member in his solo endeavors and his verses extend the single Blackman approach scraping chicks, making music, observing hells’ enemies and defending against all immediate threats. He signifies all of Hiero as they are the most talented everyman lyricists ever collected. Pep Love, since his ill debut, Ascencion, in 2001, has given Hiero their most overtly spiritually intelligent MC. The catalogs of these MCs are deep and filled with highlights and together they make an album that becomes another exhibition of deft lyricism, clever wordplay, bar for bar syncopation and diversity. These veteran greats are only hampered by the effortlessness of their verses. The most challenging tracks don’t come near to stumping the flows and you may not notice the perfection. 12 of the 15 tracks are produced by Unjust and it justly grooves with the mid tempo of effortless flowing that Hiero has especially mastered since the 2000’s.
The unison of tracks and verses are expert combinations. On “Matrix,” Opio double times his flow to keep with the double snare while Pep merely slows from his usual tempo. The stuttered drums on “Shinin” has Pep use his monotone fluid flow to stay on pace while Opio verses notes on life with slow, deliberate pace with the subtly of slight pauses to catch the beat. “Libel” is the album’s peak in smooth grooves with it’s soft flute whistling through a sharp, cut snare that Opio drives through with determination for the real music, with nice fluctuating moments. Pep Love follows with a more punctuated verse that proclaims himself lovely. The tough stabs on “Make It Pop” see Opio and Pep flow with different speed fluctuations adjusting to the beat’s awkward skip reset. First Light are expert flow masters and never ignore any part of the music that surrounds them. All together it makes an album only real listeners will be properly amazed with.
Lyrically the wordplay rolls and the syllables couple on top of each other as they blend macro corruption commentary to dive back into its relative worth in their daily micro struggle. It all mixes ill making a work that is literally real rap. Fallacy Fantasy is about the Original man in the matrix and the daily life fight through it, overcoming it and regrouping to overcome it stronger the next day. On “Valley of the Kings,” Opio spits incredibly, “CNN read the headline/360 degrees of their lies won’t televise the truth they lose trying/redneck rhetoric/I’m too clever/the kufu design/shine/ through me/like who could deny/ I’m unruly type firing up the toolie at Capitol Hill/chill/get back to the real/got me screaming bloody murder cuz I’m having a deal with Amityville/horror shows/get the chloroform/put em in a chokehold/bang em out/fuck Po-po.” “Los Lobos” has Pep Love build, “…My pituitary gland expand/I finish the mission and then it’s on to the next plan/riddle me this/a teenage love/why didn’t she resist the hedonistic predispositions of a freaky bitch?/is it the deceiving evil system that we exist within/ the devi(ious) media’s persistent pitch/lay down the lines/let the A-1 yola blow ya mind while we on the grind overtime/First Light gon’ shine in the morning/bet that pussy get warm when we performin’/get ready, get set/get wet/it’s stormin’/I’m done with the strife/moved on/from the torment but I guess when it rains, it pours in torrents so many me-so-horny’s aboard ‘til the tour ends…into the chorus” In fact, the “Los Lobos” chorus (“Don’t get it fucked up in misunderstanding/twisted exists on the planet Earth/ and wish that a man get his worth/set em straight/set em straight/I come from a land where we stand in the dirt and work and see through the evil that lurk/if it weren’t for my people that be true…”) signifies more than the track but serves as the theme of struggle for the entire album.
When we make a course of MCing,this album will fit among the many Hiero LPs fitting. Opio and Pep Love together as First Light overtly clue us in to the depth that Hieroglyphics can reach consciously, socially and spiritually. A crew known as lyrical juggernauts of verbal dexterity they also need to be recognized as commentators of depth and MCs of worthy third eye insight. Another reason why Hieroglyphics is a movement not a mere brand.