This is an album about the Father. Allah himself in the verse. Tragedy Khadafi is a Father too. Like Rakim Allah fathered advanced poetic and prose techniques within the Hip Hop stanzas, Tragedy developed a persona of street spiritual perspective and stylistic technique that is astronomically influential to one of the greatest MC havens in the universe, Queens. Tragic Allies are the next generation of those fathers and are now fathering their catalog with one of the year’s most memorable works.
The grandfather is Kool G Rap so then the father of God’s Son is the God Khadafi. With the now Queensbridge hallmark of distinct clarity via articulated punctuation and dexterity in presenting unique detail, Khadafi’s cadence and command has influenced one legend directly. As NaS further prevails, Khadafi has only gotten credit for coining the classic term, Illmatic. His importance is more than his catalog has presented and as part of 7 G.E.M.S. there is a strong offering to equalize that.
Tragedy comes out of the rigidity of his solo work that emphasized his stylistic exploits of grimy street aura (i.e. the Thug Matrix volumes) with an emotional spirituality that subtly fails in logic (i.e. Still Reporting) where the knowledge of self is emphasized in dialect but the mystery god is still reasoned in far too much. The foundational strength of Tragic Allies’ artistic sharing is their awareness as 5% (Nation of God and Earth) that promotes Tragedy to reignite a greater consistency of his own truth of presentation with the exceptional gifts he has pioneered with. So we hear topic diversity, word coupling and not holy but righteous, militant intentions of great Black revolution. Simply built, Allies got all of Trag on here-the Intelligent Hoodlum Tragedy Khadafi. So the sincere “Aura Snatchers,” Trag catalogs his hells to example right for the babies and emphatically declare scientific supremacy on “Without You.”
Tragic Allies are led by Estee Nack on this record where his raspiness, patois vocals and chants wonderfully blend chorus repetition and verse enhancement. He is an MC that embodies the LP title on the other extreme that Trag fits. While Khadafi is a great of that golden era, Nack is a shining street disciple of that classic time. MCs with expert flows Purpose displays a rolling ball flow that already can hit Inspectah Deck levels. Code Nine reps strongly on his appearances as well as on the contemplative, “Time to Ponder.” They are all MCs of execution that at times accompany each other on tracks with similar techniques which bring great cohesion but also can mar quick MC identification.
Beatwise, there are no mistakes as it is clear Purpose had these productions as history long before it appeared before us. The drum diversity is achieved by the right choices more so than unique altering. They are more testaments of execution with exceptional equalizing and a diverse tackling of different styles. It’s easy to produce this way only when you have MCs that have no stylistic limitations. The cut scratches of “The Anointed,” the tinkering bell timing the deep bass drums on “Foul Thesis,” the classic high hat’d drum re-rolling on “Dem Get Murda,” the quick crunch snare on “Verge of Defeat,” and the beautiful vocal sample and the surrounding track just amplifying on the verse’s commencement on “I Know I’m Reckless.” Broken down, each part can be found making the musical theme retro 90’s. Homage rarely can be respectful being unable to fight derivativeness but great sampling such as the Untouchables clip leading into “Men of Honor” or the great reworking of “Apache” on “Wild Militant” is refreshing in its familiarity. It all adds to an album obsessed with booming bass drums and the MCing is so precisely on bar we must appreciate that the rarity is the achievement itself.
An achievement that when judged by quality, not into identifiable parts, we have one of the strongest albums of the year. Tragedy Khadafi proving he always was one of the greatest and influential MCs to rhyme and Tragic Allies further cementing a young career that can earn its own homage one day. A career, like the great groups of the 90’s, where their consistency builds a skilled treasure of acquired appreciation. That science is part of the golden era of this music. Also, that the Father is the Son of Man so must birth a Son of a man. That indeed he is the Son of man who becomes the Man again. Thus, the Father and Son one and the same. The Son of Man is infinite. That gem of the 7 is honored in homage every break and bar here too.