If you felt there was shortage for the sound of Wu-Tang Clan affiliates in Hip-hop today, Buddha Monk is here to fix that. The Brooklyn native is back with “The Dark Knight”. The album is complete with 19 tracks with well over 10 different guest appearances. Buddha Monk is most recognized for the work he did with the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard in which he helped produce and engineer his albums prior to his death. The passing of the torch is fitting in this regard as the ODB sound can be heard embedded in Monk’s style of rap.
The main theme of the album is simple; the representation and loyalty to Brooklyn. The first track off the album kicks off the embodiment of his loyalty to the city with “All Out War”. The message is clear: don’t be a snitch because like Batman’s the Dark Knight, Monk will come find you.
But talk of violence is a small stint within the overall album, as Buddha Monk conveys that there’s more to his journey if we dare dig that deep. The realist and most honest song on the label is “Secrets”. The track pulls you into the harsh realization that although a rapper’s life might lavishly consist of money, cars and women, it also comes with a price. The rapper is haunted constantly for all the wrong doing of his past translating into a cry for help, knowing that an evil lifestyle can’t sustain anymore.
The thought provoking heaviness of the album is balanced out with some lighthearted tracks like “Smash The Dark Knight”. Monk has other rappers featured, and on first listen you quickly get the sense that everyone involved had an enjoyment making it. The vibe of the song flows like a conversation, similar to how you exchange with friends.
Even though the album does have a respectable 19 tracks on it, an aspect that cannot be overlooked is the redundancy of beat tempo and delivery, but also lyrical choices. At times several tracks started and ended with the same beat precision, having no alter or release. Also the delivery of lyrics did not always balance with the tempo, leaving rushed or slow transitions.
What Buddha Monk lacks in lyrical dexterity, he makes up for in his passion. It doesn’t take much to convince the listener that his music comes from his heart. Also due to Monk’s powerful and deep voice, it feels separate from the mainstream and closer to underground, making “The Dark Knight” a fresh listen for all waiting on the next emergence for Brooklyn.