Non-Phixion

The Future Is Now

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Utilizing beats that would do Dr. Octagon-era Dan "The Automator" proud and rhyming schemes that bring to mind early Wu-Tang Clan or mid-'90s Gang Starr, Non Phixion exposes the sound of true underground hip-hop. This is music that reflects the sound and attitude of countless rappers selling their albums out of the back of their cars or in booths on the street, cutting together dirty and disjointed sounds with a confidence and quality that is unique to this particular genre. This would all be for nothing if it wasn't for the excellent raps from Ill Bill, Goretex, and Sabac Red, a trio of rappers who have a Tribe Called Quest-like chemistry. Their clever lyrics, respectable skills, and rough voices make this an intense and dark landmark in alternative rap. The ugly funk anthem "There Is No Future" is an egotistical boast that takes the exact opposite approach of most like-minded artists, bringing up everything from atheism to mosh pits with a thoughtful twist. "Drug Music" is a bright view of drugs and music that takes a few detours but ultimately leaves the listener with a skewed view of their opinions. DJ Premier's awesome production on "Rock Stars" is only matched by his unbelievable scratching on the same track, but Pete Rock's work on "If You Got Love" is almost as impressive. But the best track here might be "Say Goodbye to Yesterday," a reflection of their lifestyle that takes a look at how it has affected them throughout the years and how they feel looking back at their actions. Outside of a few key exceptions, this sort of thoughtfulness is almost unheard of on these types of songs, which usually just brag about how bad the MC had it before they became rich. With beats that are both packed with tension and enjoyably sparse, a futuristic theme that fuels their intelligent lyrics, and a clever Voivod reference on the front cover, Non Phixion lives up to their fanfare and delivers a ramshackle collection of intelligent, literate rap tracks that points toward the future of hip-hop.

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