A group featuring the lords of the hip-hop underground, Random Axe combine the talents of Detroiters Black Milk and Guilty Simpson plus New York City artist Sean Price. For the ringtone rappers and the club dons of 2011 that must sound like the ultimate terror squad, but this self-titled debut isn’t so ambitious. Even with all the bravado, declarations of war, and muscle-flexing rhymes, Random Axe are in-house and, in many ways, insider with cult figures like Fat Ray and Trick Trick handling the guest shots while producer Black Milk provides the deep soul hooks and the crooked beats. Still, if this more “our little secret” than a “game changer,” then the underground hip-hop fan base still wins, as literate but loose rhymes, free spirits, and dope beats all add up to a highly desirable underground party. Check out “Random Call,” an independent artist anthem with attitude (“I’m chemically imbalanced, you’re not talent/I eat hot MCs like cold salad, I’m so valid”), or check the minimal winner “Understand This,” where Guilty Simpson sounds his most obscure and most OJ Simpson -- the album he cut with Madlib -- while Black Milk sounds the most Album of the Year with all those clean, acoustic, and warm samples. Random Axe the album barely crosses the 40-minute mark and it doesn’t bother pleasing the crowd, but it rewards its core audience with a freestyle feel and an uncompromising allegiance to true hip-hop.
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries