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La Coka Nostra – Masters of the Dark Arts album review

The problem with being in a “super group,” is that you’ll never exceed expectations. A group, band, or collective usually succeeds when it becomes greater than the sum of its parts, so when you take numerous MCs and a well-known DJ it’s difficult to become a cohesive unit.

To be fair, I probably would not have placed the super group label on La Coka Nostra, had Danny Boy himself not brought it up, “…same super group, homie, we’re the best in the game.” It’s hard to imagine a world where even he believes that.

DJ Lethal (Limp Bizkit/House of Pain), Slaine, and Ill Bill join the aforementioned Danny Boy (of House of Pain) on Masters of the Dark Arts, with minimal results.

When it comes to their flow, the three rappers are definitely talented and DJ Lethal’s technical talents behind the decks are incredible, but that’s where the fun ends. La Coka Nostra decide to spend their time about a decade in Hip Hop’s past and end up putting out tracks that are immediately dated.

Drug references will always be a part of the underground scene, but even Clipse (the kings of coke rap) moved away from the one-note ham-fistedness of mentioning guns, drugs, and violence every two seconds.

Bizarre musical choices on the beats and even weirder bars about everything from the illuminati to chemtrails don’t help the group sound relevant. “Letter to Ouisch” tries for the creepy, but ends up missing the mark completely by placing an utterly sleazy guitar line under an Ill Bill verse written from Charles Manson’s perspective that starts off “What up, kid!?” Something tells me that’s not how Manson begins his correspondence.

“Mind Your Business” is exactly what you expect it to be: hollow threats and misplaced bravado. La Coka Nostra make their best effort to make their takedown of critics and gossipers sound tough, but it mostly comes across as whiney and misguided. Claiming that you’ll slap a rival’s wife never makes you sound like a tough guy as Slaine exemplifies in his last verse.

Even the title of Masters of the Dark Arts tries to convince you of this super group’s musical prowess. Don’t be fooled.

By Victor Cuellar

Victor is a Seattlite who thinks it's the best city on the planet. Lover of music and writing.

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