If hip hop is dead then Killer Mike’s R.A.P Music is the undead zombie that has come to remind us all what is used to be and what it could be. R.A.P Music has all of the ingredients of a classic album. It manages to mash the old with the new with such ease that everyone should be looking to this guy to see how to do it right.
“This album was created entirely by Jaime and Mike,” explains the rapper at the beginning of the 80’s throwback track “JoJo’s Chillin”. Jaime Meline, also known as Brooklyn based producer El-P handled the production on the entire album, and these two are obviously a match made in musical heaven.
R.A.P Music opens up with an ode to Mike’s hometown (Atlanta) with “Big Beast”, featuring fellow southerners T.I. and Bun B. Although this is the only track with big name features on it, it is probably the weakest one on the album. This proves that Killer Mike doesn’t need a star studded album to produce some high quality content.
Mike shows his affinity for the arts with lyrics like “This is John Gotti painting pictures like Dali / This is Basquiat with a passion like Pac,” in the melancholy life lesson that is “Untitled”. He also shows his versatility in the next song high energy song “Go,” amped up with riffs and plenty of bass.
This album still manages to be fresh while bringing an 80’s flow along with some vivid storytelling that is comparable to Slick Rick’s classic record “Children’s Story”. When the electronic bleeps and gritty video game sounds kick in along with the intense delivery of a story about corrupt cops, you can literally imagine yourself in the bedroom seeing this grisly scene take place.
There are no standout tracks on the album, but that is simply because every single song can stand on its own. There are no fluff pieces, as every track has it’s own important story or lesson that Killer Mike tells in an honest, yet extremely effective way. With El-P’s innovative production and Killer Mike’s vintage Ice Cube-esque delivery, what we have here is pure hip hop genius. Is this possibly the best rap album of 2012? To quote the electro distortion heavy track “Butane”, I’d have to say “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!”