PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.

Vordul Mega: Megagraphitti

While the hits on Megagraphitti far outweigh the misses, this album is still far from perfect.

Vordul Mega


Contributors: Vordul Mega, Vast Aire, The Invizzibl Men, El-P
Label: Backwoodz Studioz
US Release Date: 2008-08-19
UK Release Date: 2008-09-08

Mention the name Vordul Mega and a hip-hop head will basically be forced into namedropping Cannibal Ox. And why not? That duo's first and only album, The Cold Vein, remains one of the best hip-hop records of the past decade. Tracks like "The F-Word" and "Pigeon" are just as poignant and moving today as when they were first heard in 2001. Besides El-P's astounding production, Vordul and partner Vast Aire spit a blend of refreshing lyricism and wordplay not often displayed on a debut. But for whatever reason, no follow-up has been released. The two emcees have appeared on one another's respective solo ventures to tease a Can Ox reunion, though, which might be coming soon according to a recent interview.

In the meantime, Vordul has been working on his own music. In 2004, he dropped his solo debut, the solid and consistent Revolution of Yung Havoks. But for his sophomore effort, Megagraphitti, Vordul wanted to do something different. Rather than step into the studio and record an album, he took his time with this one. In between collaborations with acts including Vast Aire, C-Ray Walz, and Aesop Rock, Vordul hit the booth every so often to lay down foundations for what we have here.

And, unfortunately, his sporadic recording has created a lack of cohesion that sticks out like a sore thumb instead of keeping the album fresh. In particular, the eighth track, "Light", is absurdly out of place. It basically comes out of nowhere. That feeling comes up again on "Beautiful", though Vordul manages to save the day. It's his chance to wax poetic about the ladies he admires in life, ranging from his mom to Mary J. Blige. While it might be slightly contrived, the track is not a complete miss. Songs like these are admirable in the sense that they show Vordul's willingness to branch out, but he doesn't sound as comfortable on "Beautiful" as he does on others. And even though "Light" is a brief instrumental, Vordul more than likely chose to include it, so don't think he's off the hook for that one. The one black sheep here that succeeds is the bluesy "Imani". But its placement as the second to last cut mars its ability to pace the album.

Megagraphitti shines brightest when our host equips his sometimes slower-than-molasses flow for tales of his life in the New York underground. And Vordul comes out of the gate strong with "Stay Conscious". He and producer Zach One mesh perfectly, making this a topnotch opening track. It's a mellow and moody introduction that features stellar guitar and vocal samples that engulf you in the song's atmosphere. Upping the ante is "Trigganomics", which sounds like it crawled out of the Wu-Tang Clan's vault. Besides having Wu-affiliate Bronze Nazareth behind the boards, Vordul raps fiercely about "ducking the fuzz" and other street topics, all brought to life through his rhymes. Another standout is the introspective "Learn". Vordul spits flawlessly here about his homestate of New York while Ravage's ambient horns soar throughout.

Those tracks aside, though, the cuts here that truly scream "play me" are the Cannibal Ox reunions. Hearing Vast and Vordul on "AK-47" and "In the Mirror" is like a dream come true for any Cold Vein enthusiast. Both tracks just further display why these two emcees are meant to rap together. Their ever-changing, juxtaposed flows don't hit as heavy as those on The Cold Vein, but who can complain about hearing Vast and Vordul on the same track? Not me, that's for sure. Although "AK-47" isn't particularly outstanding, "In the Mirror" is something special. Sid Roams's galactic beat bangs, especially the crisp and lush drums that capture the track's solemn mood. And then there is the other reunion-of-sorts in "Keep Living". Produced by Mr. Definitive Jux himself, this track features some of El-P's best drums, which hit hard. They are further emphasized and balanced by the numerous samples floating in and out like a chaotic DJ set.

While the hits on Megagraphitti far outweigh the misses, this album is still far from perfect. Those few pace-altering tracks break the strong tempo created midway through the record. But just as Vast has shown growth with his latest release, Deuces Wild, Vordul's maturity as an emcee here is clear. He has developed an ever-changing flow and his lyrics remain solid and consistent. It doesn't hurt that he also has a good ear for beats. So there's really only one thing left to say: Mr. Mega and Mr. Aire, can we get that Cold Vein follow-up? Please?


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.


Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.


Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.


In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.


The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.


The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.


The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.


When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.


20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.


The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.


Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.


Kimm Rogers' "Lie" Is an Unapologetically Political Tune (premiere)

San Diego's Kimm Rogers taps into frustration with truth-masking on "Lie". "What I found most frustrating was that no one would utter the word 'lie'."


50 Years Ago B.B. King's 'Indianola Mississippi Seeds' Retooled R&B

B.B. King's passion for bringing the blues to a wider audience is in full flower on the landmark album, Indianola Mississippi Seeds.


Filmmaker Marlon Riggs Knew That Silence = Death

In turning the camera on himself, even in his most vulnerable moments as a sick and dying man, filmmaker and activist Marlon Riggs demonstrated the futility of divorcing the personal from the political. These films are available now on OVID TV.


The Human Animal in Natural Labitat: A Brief Study of the Outcast

The secluded island trope in films such as Cast Away and television shows such as Lost gives culture a chance to examine and explain the human animal in pristine, lab like, habitat conditions. Here is what we discover about Homo sapiens.


Bad Wires Release a Monster of a Debut with 'Politics of Attraction'

Power trio Bad Wires' debut Politics of Attraction is a mix of punk attitude, 1990s New York City noise, and more than a dollop of metal.


'Waiting Out the Storm' with Jeremy Ivey

On Waiting Out the Storm, Jeremy Ivey apologizes for present society's destruction of the environment and wonders if racism still exists in the future and whether people still get high and have mental health issues.

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.