[17 December 2009]
A considerable part of Serengeti’s outsider appeal has always been his choice of subject matter that exists under, or completely beyond, other rappers’ radars. It therefore seems fitting that Terradactyl achieves such excellence through using “off the grid” living as a creative premise. To execute the concept, Serengeti is joined again by Don’t Give Up collaborator Polyphonic, and the mixture of lyrical and musical/production chops is even more successful and cohesive this time around. A rarity like Terradactyl is especially precious at a point when the evolution of so-called underground hip-hop has resulted in a surfeit of rhymers saying nothing meaningful over quirky, lifeless beats. Beyond its superiority within the genre (and Anticon’s quality dominance in general), Terradactyl is significant for the many sociopolitical realities it reflects. Bearing the insight and expressive sweep of a city symphony documentary, the album is the year’s best use of hip-hop as a means of reflexive sociology, with Polyphonic’s production offering surprises around every corner of Seregeti’s vividly realized lyrical landscape.