Tame One


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Spazmatic is an album with perhaps the most apt title -- ever. For 18 tracks, Tame One goes on a microphone assault as an MC truly spazzing out. The technique, dexterity and sheer athleticism he displays is a touchstone for the craft of hip-hop MC'ing, aided by the equally spazmatic production from duo Xing-N-Fox, who lay out what can only be described as an MC obstacle course. The album's cover art presents this album in a way for one to perceive Tame and Xing-N-Fox as a group -- with Tame at the forefront (in a lead singer role) and Xing-N-Fox further back (in essence, the band). The product calls to mind a new-millenium version of Whut? Thee Album, where Erick Sermon produced a string of dark and angry funk tracks for newcomer Redman to devour like a savage. On Spazmatic, most songs begin with beats that sound so eccentric and weirded out that it would seem unlikely an MC could spit over them. Each song ends, however, with Tame having just spent the duration of the tune compounding, flowing and rhyming as acrobatic as this genre has ever seen. With all the drug references (song titles like "Acid Tab Vocab," lyrics such as "more drugs in me than 80s" and references to smoking embalming fluid) the sheer lunacy (like the hook for "I'm Tamer Dizzle") and the frequent non-sequitur, turrets outbursts/adlibs, Spazmatic is also similar to Ol' Dirty Bastard's Return to the 36 Chambers in that it's a profoundly entertaining look into the mind of an eccentric with the producers (in Ol' Dirty's case RZA) acting as enablers. This album is a slept-on hip-hop achievement and, along with MF Doom's recent work, the most recent and awed examples of the art of MC'ing.

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