The Awakening EP, the newest release from Anti Citizens, comes with all the underground hip-hop bells and whistles that you could ask for from the duo. Grandiose dystopian beats ("Blackout," "2012 Armageddon"), impressive double-time lyrical gymnastics ("Verbal Assassin," "The Awakening"), and an abundance of solid guest features from both national acts (Apathy and Ras Kass on "Effortlessly") and local hip-hop heroes (Black Mikey, Orko Eloheim, and Johaz of Deep Rooted on "Underground Jugganautz"). From here, you could pretty much call it a day. As Phonte once said, "Dope beats, dope rhymes...what more do y'all want?"

But then you hear "All That I Am." Now, this song is by no means a highlight on a highlight-laden record. This gentle guitar-and-piano track feels absolutely limp amidst the rest of the epic production. Actually, when you first hear the song, it sounds so bizarrely out of place that you can't help but take notice. Then the two rappers, Mr. Ridley and Bazerkowitz, do something you don't expect at all — they start waxing philosophical about man's purpose in this world. And you realize this is the only point when either rapper lays down the braggadocio and relates on our level. It's the most human moment on the entire album. Without it, the album is a great display of empty tough talk. But with it, both the album and the artists suddenly gain definition. It's without a doubt the heart of the album.

  • Album: The Awakening EP (2010)
  • Artist: Anti Citizens
  • Label: 2012 Dynasty
  • Songs: (1) The Calm Before the Porn (2) Effortlessly (3) S.A.D.R.A.N. (4) Blackout (5) Verbal Assassin (6) All That I Am (7) DJ Artistry Beat Mash (8) Underground Jugganautz (9) 2012 Armageddon (10) The Awakening (11) Goodbye

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