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The Invizzibl Men

The Unveiling

(Backwoodz Studioz; US: 19 Aug 2008; UK: Available as import)

The Invizzibl Men, made up of Karniege and MarQ Spekt, are the latest rappers looking to resurrect gritty ‘90s hardcore hip-hop. And to say they succeed would be a colossal understatement. From the grimy production to the mean-mugging raps, everything on their debut, The Unveiling, is executed almost perfectly. Typically, emcees like these grow tiresome. We get it: You’re tougher than nails and you spit fire that burns other rappers. But, somehow, the Invizzibl Men never become repetitive or grating.


Right from the start, you know this record is going to bang. Album-opener “Introcutlery (The Warm Up)” is dirty and dark, but damn does it bump. The drums and sample mix like a vicious cocktail as both emcees introduce themselves to the world. The muffled vocal effects on “Zookeeper”, which features like-minded rapper and Cannibal Ox member Vordul Mega, take the already grimy track to another level. As solid as those songs and others are, however, “T-Rex” stands head and shoulders above them all. It features some of the best drums heard in years from Khalid Salaam. And Karniege, MarQ Spekt, and guest C-Rayz Walz ride the stellar beat with ease. The only lacking track is the awkwardly sexual “Neon Mud”. Both rappers sound confident and the beat isn’t awful, but it just seems forced and tacked on.


Although this album’s futuristic boom-bap has been heard before, the Invizzibl Men give it a welcome makeover. It might not be at the level of the outstanding Cannibal Ox debut Cold Vein, but The Unveiling sure comes close. And if Karniege and MarQ Spekt can maintain this album’s flashes of brilliance for their next record, I fear for the future of other emcees.

Rating:

Weekly newspaper reporter by day, music reviewer by night (OK, and by day, too). When he's not writing for PopMatters, Andrew spends most of his time at online magazine Prefix and hip-hop site Potholes In My Blog.


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