ViolentlyIll -‘The Iconoclast’
‘The Iconoclast’ instantly builds an atmospheric hip-hop story that takes confident rhythmic turns to allow for jazzy, thoughtful samples to fully flourish and sink into your psyche. Fans of DOOM and Dilla will be completely at home with this tasty wax production - N.I.’s response to the legendary producers: Violentlyill.
This Ill Records 15 track (plus 2 stellar bonus remixes) L.P. expertly uses distorted jazz samples, spliced with retro radio and T.V. voiceovers, to create a fully rounded world of instrumental conversation. Storytelling with a world of horns, keys and crisp drum loops allow the abstract narrative to drift in and out, making for a truly meditative listening experience. It’s like being told off by your parents for smoking a joint, but they’re also stoned out and can’t keep a straight face.
The album begins with palette cleansers that bring you above the clouds, songs like ‘Unstable’ and ‘Vividly’ playing with the ideas of time and memory with such rich instrumentation that it’s impossible not to get lost as you enter the depths of this immersive experience.
The producer’s sonic experimentation continues to into the funk heavy hip-hop instrumentation, playing with sound bites from public service announcements and anti-drug commercials in songs like ‘Bitter Sweet’, to disjoint the spacey melodies with a back-and-forth dialogue that always gives into a state of bliss. Subverting what once could be considered ‘square’ into an odyssey of counterculture and sampledelia. ViolentlyIll really delevops this album into an anti-establishment album that spans generations. With an adventurous but integral approach to consonance, the tracks sway from the idea of the cheery, nuclear family to an eerie nuclear winter, only to be resurrected into pulsating grooves that are full of life, technicolour and humour.
While ‘The Iconoclast’ can be streamed, I can’t recommend enough that you should get the double disc vinyl.