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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

[EP/Review] BARAK THE RAPPER x THE MILITIA - "Tel Aviv To Jo-Burg EP"

The first time I heard South Africa's number #1 hip-hop producer The Militia was on his 9-track mini album "Timeless Classic" which featured adrenaline rushing golden age-smelling Hip Hop, filled with horns, cuts, electric and acoustic pianos, BASS and HARD ASS boom bap drums. For the EP he even colllected some of my favorite New York spitters like The Legion, Rome Clientel, Skyzoo, Torae, interludes from Statik Selektah, and Peter Gunz, DJ X-Rated of Snowgoons and then some... Ever since then he's been on my radar, even starting building a more persoal relationship with him, and this is a dude that's as humble as his music is incredible. Since that first EP that caught my ear he has continued to release quality material at a rapid pace and I know for a fact that at least two EP:s in the collaborative format is on their way, so stay tuned for more news!

But this post is not about any of that, but rather a brand new EP fully produced by The Militia and performed by Cali based debutant Barak The Rapper. Only six tracks deep, the extended play is completely rid of filler material, though there are a few standouts. It features well-crafted, well sampled, and innovative deep soul groove beats that really connect with Barak on a personal level. Since it's so short, it might be hard to pinpoint any reall standouts, though they aren't many suprises either for long-time fans of The Militia's previous works either. The bottom line is if you liked the Curtessy EP, if you liked the Blue Legacy EPif you enjoyed the previously mentioned "Timeless Classic" EP you will instantly recognize who's behind it, but it's also impossible not to nod your head in agreement with a smile. He kind of works from the formula that if it ain't broke don't fix it, and indeed it does work but personally I would like to hear a few more cuts that's completely out of his lane from time to time to see what he can come up with. I'm sure it would be dope because there's no question he's got a fantastic ear for samples  and how to build and rebuild songs.
The "Tel-Aviv to Joburg" EP starts off strong with "The Proposition", an anthem filled with lush strings, pitched vocal samples, heavily chopped samples and the trademark addictive big drums. Its a powerful opening where Barak The Rapper comes through with a strong performance in the boasting tradition, while The Militia does a such terrific job as anywhere else. He definitely knows the importance of opening any album or EP with a bang, and here you got extremely hard drums, a beautiful chopped vocal sample weaving in and ot of the compsition, horns and even a string section. Powerful shit to say the least! "Made For This" is another standout and was wisely picked as one of the promotional single. In fact, some of the constructive criticsm from the previous paragraph doesn't seem justified at all when listening to this. The Militia's production is much more low-key than we have become used to, it's not chopped in the way he usually prefers, and the drums are less agressive, rather placing,s,e MC at the forefront (the repetative reed instruments add a lot to the final product). Again, Barak opens up in this introspective verse, and it's maybe the finest example yet of how The Militia is creating a musical mood to fit the lyrics of a song. ¨"Perception" got some of these qualities as wel--l, and it's clear that The Militia is goriwng as a producer rapidly. 

Let's really hope he find a home  for a proper retail album soon; I'd definitely support it in an instant. His knack for adrenaline filled hip-hop  is one of the many new recent breakthroughs that reminded me whle I fall in love with hip-hop from the start (which also includes peeops such as Drasar Monuemntal and Audivble Docroe). What's also impressive is that everything poitns towards The Militia being in a crossroad now wanting to expore more diferent themes, although I sure as hell hope he never forgets he's boom bap first and foemost and that's what we mainly want, though a few more experimental joints on each release would of course wecome musica theme 

As for Barak The Rapper, the kid most definitely got skills, there's no denying it, but in my opinion it's The Militia that's the real star here. As far as I know this is Barak's debut release, and he got a lot of good lines and topics but he feels a bit rough around the edges yet. So while the production somewhat carries him into making this a pretty damn good release, had the beats been more bland underlyining thise flows and lyrics it would be a toiugh listen. Like I said, he's far from bad but at this point he need really dope prducers to work with until he really find himself, With that being said, "Tel-Aviv to Joburg" is highl recommended EP.eethe when jIt's highly recommended, If I was gonna give it a rating I'd say that the beats deserve a strong 4 (4.2) while the vocals are a strong 3 (3.3), so overall I give it a 3.75/5. But you can't complain or sleep on it,  I'm sure a lot of heads find Barak a lot better than what I do, it's free and a must hear so head over to DJBooth and stream or download below ASAP.

01. "The Propostion"
02. "Percepton"
03. ""Made For This"
04. ""Doin' My Thang"
05. "Hard Header"
06. "Make Your Mark"

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