PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Panacea: Ink is My Drink

Mike Schiller

Ink is My Drink is hip-hop music for the background.


Ink is My Drink

Label: Rawkus
US Release Date: 2006-10-03
UK Release Date: 2006-10-30

It could be, I suppose, that the title of Panacea's new long-player Ink is My Drink is a reference to MC Raw Poetic's thirst, his need to express all the thoughts and ideas in his head, and the idea that the only way for him to quench that thirst is to put it down on paper, ready to relate it to the rest of the world the best way he knows how. The music contained within Ink is My Drink, however, tells another story.

Panacea is made up of two guys: There's the aforementioned Raw Poetic, who takes care of the rhyming, and then there's K-Murdock, who does the producing -- it's about the simplest rapper/DJ setup you could imagine. To that end, one of the biggest things that Ink is My Drink actually has going for it is the chemistry between these two artists. Raw Poetic never overpowers his production, content to glide along it, allowing it to shine in the empty spaces, while K-Murdock never sees his production shining brightly enough to take away from whatever his MC happens to be saying. The two perfectly complement one another, paving their own way as a potentially lethal combo as they continue to enhance each other's talents.

The problem, then, is that this potential only very rarely makes itself known. Opening track "Trip of the Century" makes it sound as though Ink is My Drink is going to be a killer, as it starts off spacey and trippy, as though it's going to coast on fluffy clouds and vintage soul samples for the entire track. And then, entirely without warning, Raw Poetic catches fire. K-Murdock picks up the pace of the percussion, Poetic spits lines like "Woke up alive, took a walk in my head / I think, so I insist I can't tell if I'm dead", and the whole thing flows like water down a steep incline. In the grand scheme it doesn't mean a hell of a lot, but it rips. The "ding" noise on "Invisible Seas" is oddly hypnotic, like hearing the bell that goes off when you leave your headlights on as set to a hip-hop song. Album-closer "Starlite" is an incredible track for most of the same reasons that "Trip of the Century" is. For sure, Raw Poetic is at his most impressive when he's spitting at high speed.

That's about it.

The idea that Raw Poetic only sounds great when he's rapping fast might actually be the biggest problem -- he's very good with his rhythm and his technical prowess, but it's very rare that he actually finds something worth saying. Mostly he talks about keeping a positive attitude, or how people won't leave him alone, and occasionally he delves into the evils of the world, which is all fine, really, but it all sounds the same! He may as well be reading names out of the phone book for all the emotion he puts into it. He just doesn't sound hungry, he doesn't sound as though there is any true conviction behind what he's saying, and it saps any emotion out of the words of the songs. How do you write a song called "Burning Bush", decry the limits of a two-party system, accuse the general public of having blinders on, and slap it with a hook that consists entirely of a repeated "Hey, yeah, yeah"? How can you reconcile the fact that a defiant track like "Reel Me In", complete with a sample from Carl Douglas' "Kung Fu Fighting", sounds like a sleepytime chill-out jam? That sort of cut needs power, it needs bite, it needs oomph, and it never gets any of that.

As a result, Panacea never transcends the label of easy-listening-hip-hop, something you could easily put on in the background of a chill party without ever threatening to steal the spotlight from the good conversation or the beer pong tournament. Raw Poetic has the rhythm, and K-Murdock complements him perfectly, but they need to be willing to step out of their comfort zone a bit to create something that truly connects with their audience. Until they do, they'll always be in the background.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.


20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.


Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.


The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.


Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).


Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.


Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.


Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.


Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.


Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.


Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.


Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.


Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.


The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.


British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.


Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.