Born King: The Secret Order
Born King is quickly becoming one of Baltimore's most prolific and unique rappers, having released three albums in the space of a year. Two of them, 2007's Krad Edis and the more recent The Secret Order, had Halloween release dates, and each successive album has moved toward darker and more esoteric themes, ranging from Satanism and serial killers to politics and conspiracy theories. As Born King's lyrics have gotten stranger, so have his beats, provided primarily by his younger brother, Singodsuperior, and local rapper/producers Articulate and Rickie Jacobs. "Hazel" thumps along slowly with a guitar squiggle punctuating every snare hit, evoking the RZA and Tricky in equal measure, while "Saturn's Ring" splats out drum 'n' bass percussion breaks between verses.
Unfortunately, when the murky sonics foreground the lyrics, it remains difficult to pin down Born King's convoluted message. On the 2006 song "Blue Lights," the MC lucidly criticized the Baltimore police department's surveillance camera campaign. But more often than not on The Secret Order, he lets loose with gross-out horrorcore lyrics--"bloody nails pluck out your eyeballs/ take 'em and put 'em inside of a pigfoot's jar"--that only occasionally settle into a rhyme scheme. And even when he spits game to a girl on "Refinement," he can't help but sound creepy, saying things such as "her womb got overly moist" over a disjointed piano loop. Still, it's hard to knock the originality or the work ethic of someone who will most likely release something even more uncompromising in a matter of months.