Rapster continued giving a leg up to deserving American hip-hoppers (Freddie Foxxx, Baby Blak, Pete Rock) with Graymatter, the debut solo record from Maylay Sparks (aka Rahsheed). A rapper every bit as tough and menacing as fellow underground heavyweights Cappadonna or Freddie Foxxx, Sparks doesn't have much to add to the hip-hop lexicon, but his delivery and rhymes are excellent. (Rhyming "hat tricks" and "ice picks" won't blow anyone out of the water, but he makes it groove.) He also has a smooth flow, knows how to keep enough space within his rhymes, and benefits from excellent productions. (DJ Noize takes most of the tracks, and an old Sparks hand, DJ Whiteshadow, makes only one appearance.) The sound matches Sparks' rapping perfectly, with rich and gritty '70s Philly soul samples bolstered by the dense, claustrophobic sound of N.Y.C. hitters DJ Premier or RZA.
by John Bush