By SUNEZ [ #SkillastratorLO #PowerWrite ]

APOLLO BROWN & SKYZOO – THE EASY TRUTH LP ReviewThey saw my signature looped in the golden cipher of my spic linx – just my universal flag, an easy truth for complicated foes. Counting blessings, writing works in advance and never measuring virtue all as sincerely as possible. I am one of the Brown fossil fuels of the world, used and hated like a violent fusion of Radio Raheem’s fingers. I’m useless to the man, the crackle of the crack on my back is swung slower. I’m now but a depreciating liability to their prized assets–the young niggas after me. Life’s a bitch with a voluptuous stitch. So they tailor my demise like this…

Skyzoo is an MC in his own classroom, from a school of lyricists with courses in flow, content and storytelling, cafeterias of word choice meals with extracurriculars of fluctuations and inflections of the most dazzling. In his own class after bells are rung, he plays with the books, the hustler philosopher frivolously clothed in the rat race’s latest successes.  The floss appears as the end game but the depth of the word that glides through the teeth reveal the grind toward achievement, a better life, the score of inspiration charted score to score.

Apollo Brown is a nearly forgotten apprentice of Bronze Nazareth unless you really are following the immaculate catalog of the Wisemen and you keep hearing Blue Bland and others sampled again. Still, Brown is a workhorse eliminating the difficulty in thought some of today’s rising MCs from Hasan Mackey to Journalist 103 to greats and GOATs from O.C. to Ras Kass have to do constructing albums. So Brown went from wise to clever focusing his proficiency to a crescendo isolation of a bluesy Soul vinyl to then shockingly drop an obsessive stabbing bassline with smack snares fighting through a crooning yelp piercing through for crack measure. The wonder of the break beat is that traveling his beats through so many MCs allows a freshness to the listener in that some of our favorites will be guaranteed the rugged Boom Bap.  A consistent slapped clap and break looming throughout Skyzoo’s lengthy prime, who has LPs entirely produced by one (9th Wonder for 2006’s Cloud 9: The 3 Day High & !llmind for 2010’s Live From the Tape Deck) along with LPs dynamically and uniquely beat selected (2012’s A Dream Deferred, 2015’s Music For My Friends) working with Brown adds to a diversified career, that with such appealing vocal styling, should have made him a star. But Hip Hop is not embraced properly after these Dark Ages of the 2000s, and so this decade, the Invisible Renaissance, most of the exceptional are ninjas floating by leaving timed collections of brilliant violence all around.

 The needled fitted piercing in at the measure of 7 and one eighth, a capsule for my supremacy with an extra tiny space for my boundless rage. Gallantly smashed upright on the tailored cross, the podium of crucifixion they muster for an exotic militant. They filthen me so that my light Brown skin is now alchemizing sunlight in the appropriate pose. My nails, never long but always at the end of right words for wronged ciphers are custom chiseled to pain my hand’s flesh particulars. Bloody, I quietly recite a sanctifying sutra:

Lord Jesus Price,

You had rhymed for us,

Now thou one with us.

Where right is lost and sold is sin,

Blessing souls through song bins.

May we laugh and bash evil we see,

In our own revolutions in perfection, P!

So abound and forward resounding, Skyzoo has The Easy Truth to focus on again. The ability to expound on his themes of honorable hustle. Word, money is the measure but Skyzoo is a storyteller that studies the magnificence of the movement, portraits the metamorphosis from poverty stricken to richer living. They’re not just bullshit capitalistic free market tales but the sequestering of wealth, a gold standard of wealth where oppression is an obstacle that supplements the glory of the coming achievements.  And Skyzoo is its griot like that soldier that journals the twilight of calm before they bring the fucking ruckus. He leads you back in a prose that manually rewinds with glimpses of old views, former mentalities, similes that aid visualization and augment emotional triggers.  His ability for double entendres is so magnified he often riffs on the ability with entendres (“These double entendres is purposely on the record/Cause the motives is off the record so know when you bought a record” – “The Flyest Essence” ) and his homonym wordplay amazingly exhausts every uniquely captured word til it can’t be used anymore.  Through choruses (“Slow dough/Never made it in my neighborhood/It’s more Jesse Owens/With the owing’s if it’s paying good/So we be tryna run baby run to the pay out/We be tryna run baby run to the pay out” – “Payout“) and passages (“So you pick out your lane/And turn Kramer with the room if they get you some paint/With no open mics for you to go blow your lights/But shit they don’t hear you anyway they just listen for names, mine is in a lane that I ain’t ever get to widen/But I could barely fit I almost had to whip beside it/Cause duke I wasn’t put here just to settle for the echoes…” – “Spoils To The Victor”), The Easy Truth is effortlessly filled with these feats.



The flexibility of it all is that the themes intersect his MC reality with his entire past to get to this point as on “One In the Same,” as he notes, “You fathered everybody out on the move/Rappers doing alotta ugly tie shopping in June/I’m on the other side of the table like none of that’s important/But still I’m smiling on it cuz it’s obviously true…”  All with a fluidity of flow that is always in the pocket.  Skyzoo can travel anywhere on the page and spends the time in these pensive flashbacks and powerful declarations of hustling movement.  The illness of Easy Truth’s listening is gliding through the wordplay and latching onto lines that are lectures in poetic philosophies as “Money loud, like the only way we can live is blatant/Until it muffles the crowd and then it get complacent…” and now we stay frozen in thought wondering the passage of time, our balling ways, the dilution of once great things and how Skyzoo fucks our head up.  There is the set, reset, restart and reworking of words as, “diamonds are forever so I’m still about a prism/The now and the later like it’s sitting in the prism/ or prison/ depending on if you pronounce different/Wait, that’s alotta lines, let me pull back the limits/I mean that’s only half like when I’m throwing her my rhythm/ but back to the soliloquy/Like back to it literally…” (“Jordan’s & a Gold Chain”) are charismatic gifts of cleverness that repeats afford us.  The mere MC boasting and the weakened listener not seeing them (“Another tester to the crowd, point blank at the sublime/another way to get us paid from orchestrating up a line/And the Genius annotation and debating with the blind…” – “Basquiat On The Draw”), the details of memory on “They Parked A Bentley On The Corner” summed up profoundly (“My addiction off a Nostrand Ave vision set the continental bar for living…”) turn his verses into Langston stanzas, where there is a special sight, what is seen, what is desired, the culture of the scene seen in it all and the subtle lean to sin so simple to sink into.

Beatwise, Apollo Brown has a special instrument to work with.  Skyzoo’s capacities in the pocket are at the extremes of Inspectah Deck and AZ which lets Apollo work tempos that bounce as opposed to Boom as he usually does.  So “Vibes” bubble ticked off high hats, bells and cymbal crashes with a somber orchestra of violin strumming on the chorus, the brooding piano stringing on the classic Bliss drums on “One In The Same” or the thick 1,2 drums and keyboard play of “Visionary Riches” can be mixed in.  Indeed, there are never moments on Apollo works I don’t hear Bronze first as the “Payout” already lived again on Phillie’s “Soldier’s Union” though Apollo lowered the cinema and amplified the bounce. The signature Apollo Brown with its plodding basslines are on “Spoils to the Victor,” “Care Packages,” and of course, “Basquiat on the Draw” being the most overt.  Still, it is the seeking of the pensive and the amplifying of the meditative without losing any of the thump that makes Apollo’s work strong here. So “Jordans & A Gold Chain” are let us drift into Skyzoo’s words while it livens and “A Couple Dollars” become another of the many classic tracks in the catalog.  The latter being the most powerful add on mic controller as Ortiz, a lyricist of great merit in his own peaks, wordplay wizards the hard times with Skyzoo.



The Easy Truth, ultimately, is a tiny novel and “Innocent Ambition” epitomizes the supremacy. From its outstanding opening verse on the street drug hustle with homonym wordplay (“And all, I wanted was a shade/A hue of a sort I could sort to replace/All the hues of the halls and the walls where I stays…”), the psychological details captured in simile (“And seeing my desires transpire from my dreams/Is as sweet the hopes that my mama sung to me…”), the references, to our liking, often The Wire, that offer comparative contrast (“And my innocence fades into black, Michael Lee shit//But how my transition to the kitchen came seamless/Stamps for the fly out, culinary sequence…”).  Then it is all extended to the second mirroring verse of the MC hustle with the wordplay (“His hand was on his 40, his title on his collar/He looked about 40, 27 my scholar/He said why even bother? I wondered what he means/Then looked back at his 40 and proceeded to agree…”), thought process (“I was less about proving the already foregone/Assuming him as wrong, was more wrong of me right/The cameras turned on, with no room for rewrites/I mean what could I rewrite that isn’t just hopeful/It’s better to leave it and believe he at least knows you…”) and beautiful summative lines to complete it all (“A change gonn’ come right ? Y’all said it yourselves/So y’all can blame each other for the changes that prevailed/I put away my youth and I heard somebody call/It sounded like a sweeter version of my mama’s song/And he said I’d have it all…”). The Easy Truth isn’t a peak of Skyzoo’s lyricism as opposed to being another powerful work in a GOAT lyricist level prime that has run this entire decade, all of this Invisible Renaissance.

Before their gun is drawn, seeking the edit, the brilliance of my arm, leg, leg, arm, supreme head, the barrel is made ironic.  A-Alike, built long, thick and of the darkest mahogany, a phallic philanthropy  that permeates from the pistol of my murderer. Damned Christ. They seem to know the God they put on the stake. The problem is that my degrees are measured in more than heat but in the recall of sages past. So these words are puffed patiently into dialogue that soothes. To slumber in the sky til they are clip, click, clack loaded through the roaming zoos of warriors’ minds fatigued with L’s.  Some knowledge of self  in the penmanship of love and loyalty.  See the easy truth how we tore ourselves off the cross.