Mars Ill - Raw Material

Sunday 1st July 2001
Mars Ill - Raw Material
Mars Ill - Raw Material

STYLE: Hip-Hop
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Uprok BED7457
RELEASE DATE: 2001-06-22
RRP: £4.99

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

BEC/Tooth & Nail's heartening move into hip hop culture with Uprok Records really comes of age with this joint. The publicity blurb reads, "'Raw Material' is an album that comes along once every 10 years!" For once the publicist's hyperbole is warranted. Mars ILL are a two man team consisting of Soul Heir The ManChild (emcee) and Dust (turntablist/producer) and are key figures in the thriving underground hip hop scene of Atlanta, Georgia. Phat tracks and raps that bite deep. Getting a bevy of holy hip hop's top names to phone in their tributes for the "Mars III" opener may be a tad indulgent but it demonstrates the big respect this West Coast team have Stateside. Check out the close of "Sphere Of Hip Hop Part 2" or the whole of "We'll Live Underground" for the most riveting scratching ever featured on a Christian album. Check out "Black Market" with its lugubrious groove, its semi-sung, semi-chanted hook. Check out the free form rap on "Love's Not" which recalls the best of Grits. Another one to investigate.

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