Album: Homeland Security (2008)
Artist: Nature of the Beast
Where available/price: Access Hip Hop in Pacific Beach for $10.95 (CD and vinyl), CDBaby.com for $10.99 (CD) and $5.50 (vinyl), iTunes for $9.99 (download), Spin Records in Carlsbad for $10.99 (CD), Lou’s Records in Encinitas for $10.99 (CD), M Theory in Mission Hills for $10.99 (CD), the Armory in downtown San Diego for $10.99 (CD) and $5.50 (vinyl), Undergroundhiphop.com for $4.97 (vinyl).
Songs: 1) Flood Gates 2) Ready for War 3) All Time Greats 4) Gun Powder 5) Air Tight 6) Bench to the Bus Stop 7) Homeland Security 8) Fate Fight Destiny 9) High Def Audio 10) Shark Infested Waters 11) When It’s Good 12) River Blood 13) We Ain’t Tryna Lose 14) Big Ups (outro)
Band: MarkmyWords (vocals), DJ Sinn (turntables)
Perhaps one reason scratching has quietly slinked further away from hip-hop is that it is just better than what’s out there these days; the current trend in hip-hop is to amplify the worthless and hide the great. I offer as exhibit A Eminem, who obviously influenced MarkmyWords. Mark’s voice reaches for that grating half-whine gravel of Em and unfortunately grabs it all too often.
MarkmyWords is a competent rapper. He’s got that quick-rap ribbety-flibbety-gibbet thing that when used judiciously adds a bit of texture to an album, and that is definitely his strongest (if not only) selling point. He seems unable to write a lyric that hasn’t been rapped and re-rapped hundreds of times. His topics are cliché — pleas for pity for hungry kids in the ’hood; boasts of sexual, fighting, and musical prowess; and what he can do to other deejays and emcees who stand in his way.
Track two drops with a brassy ’70s cut that would be at home in a cheesy kung fu movie or a Quentin Tarantino rip-off of the same. Track five is probably my favorite cut, with American Indian chants and imaginative scratching without much lyrical stamping from MarkmyWords.
Thankfully, the duo employs far fewer high-flying synthesizers than is popular on the radio, and they cram in an incredible amount of scratching and loop mixes…sometimes too many, as it clutters up the songs. As a scratch fan, I’m glad I caught this album. DJ Sinn might be San Diego’s finest turntablist. Pick it up for the scratching or find DJ Sinn’s solo work.