Drowned in tons of overdubbed tracks on the two albums by Rev. 99, the group he shared with Ernesto Diaz-Infante, 99 Hooker's no-holds-barred rap is finally given the full treatment on Generica. There is still a whopping number of collaborators, tracks, influences, and styles at play, but reigning over it all is 99's voice. Forget the hip black rap stars and their manufactured rebellions; forget the white rappers and their attitudes. The genuine intelligence of 99 Hooker's politically charged, completely off-the-wall lyrics makes the whole rap industry sound like an iMac computer voice reading an erotic novel. His stories about America, the Church, idiots, television, and the maddening paradoxes of humankind hit where it hurts, while retaining an entertainment value that may not be so obvious to everyone on first listen. And yet, his rapping is still only half of the story. Behind him are real musicians from the avant-garde jazz and noise underground, making up the wildest rap backup band ever. Guitarist Donald Miller (from noise improv legends Borbetomagus), reedman Mark Marinoff (aka M2), bassist Shahzad Ismaily, drummer Ray Sage, and sampler artist Akio Mokuno form the core of the band. From groove jazz to country, from avant rock to lounge, there is nothing these guys can't do -- and nothing they will do in a straight manner. Saxes grunt and scream, drums erupt, guitars rage on in infernal textures whenever the lyrics open a door or 99 Hooker pauses. It makes a highly energetic, shock-filled blend that will appeal to the avant-garde crowd much more than to the hip-hop generation. Generica provides a stimulating, provocative, unique listen. Recommended.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture