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C-Rayz Walz and Sharkey: Monster Maker

C-Rayz Walz and Sharkey: Monster Maker

Release Date:2007
Genre:Hip Hop/Rap

By Ed Schrader | Posted 8/15/2007

Underground hip-hop heads C-Rayz Walz and Sharkey are both socially conscious and innovative in a genre that is usually anything but. And with their most recent collaboration, Monster Maker, they stand to achieve a new level of recognition. Battle rapper C-Rayz Walz' work with MF Doom, Cannibal Ox, and Aesop Rock separated him from other up and coming rappers, but none of these couplings is as hard-hitting or as rewarding as Monster Maker.

Working with unsung producer Sharkey yields Walz's best output yet. Sharkey's odd aesthetic--a combination of Moog, strings, and well-thought samples--perfectly compliments Walz's raw, combative approach. Monster opens with a short electronic beat splash that sounds like Autechre entwined with a '70s TV cop drama. But Monster's diverse palette expands rapidly in the very next track, "This Ol' Twisted World," a place where an infected socioeconomic system turned Earth into a "monster maker." It's a bold introduction that sounds like Sly and the Family Stone atop waves of sparkling funk coupled with Walz's jaw-popping vignettes--and a gospel choir to boot. This track establishes the album's eclectic use of raw verse and thick, glowing buckets of atmosphere.

The conceptual production is consistent and never bogs the album down, striking a masterful balance between socially conscious observation and alluring hooks. Maia Banks sings "Might She Shoot," a tale of an economically deprived woman who can't afford medication. Instant club classic "Jumping Off at the Jump Off" is a postpunk swoosh with a shot of Dr. Who pressed through an aboriginal drum filter, featuring guest spots from Shabazz and Banks, who help make the futuristic track accessible. Simply put, Monster Maker is a raucous meditation on a burning world, with a hook at every turn.

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