Previous uploaded version of this was solid, but now I updated to another one from my CD.
Britcore Rap Reviews Blog: ”Afro-centric, political, militant, angry, controversial hip hop – oh how I miss it! Sure there are a token handful of hip hop artists these days still waving small, barely noticeable black awareness banners but the movement is nothing like it was. In fact hip hop is generally seen these days as either an art form, culture or simply a genre of music and the idea of it being a political movement that can change the world has been lost, forgotten or simply disregarded by most people over the last 10 to 15 years. It’s a sad fact and I don’t think that deep down the likes of Chuck D, KRS, Black Radical, PRT, Movement Ex, King Sun and so on would be too happy with the lack of knowledge, wisdom and understanding in today’s music. Yes there are still rappers talking about back in the day ideals such as the 4 elements, but unfortunately famous and important ideologies that were once very significantly at the root of the hip hop movement such as “Fight the Power”, “By Any Means Necessary” and “The Black CNN” rank as pretty meaningless and insignificant to kids into hip hop these days. Most of that new generation of fans would label such hip hop as “too preachy” (I’ve read such opinions time and time again in reference to the likes of current political and militant pro-black MC’s such as Dead Prez and Paris). Whatever happened to the “Edutainment” factor in hip hop?
1995’s “Psychological Enslavement” by Silent Eclipse is an album that i often turn to when looking to get a hit of the ideas and era that i miss as described above. An era where I was waving my fist in the air chanting angrily and passionately words like “f*** the oppressors, f*** the police and f*** the government” along with and inspired by the rappers of those times. Well at least back to the tail end of that era, as by 1995 hip hop was all about East Coast vs. West Coast, Wu Tang, G-Funk and unfortunately hardcore UK hip hop was on it’s last legs and African Medallions were a mere novelty trend of the past.
Before even talking about the music it has to be lyrical content of Silent Eclipse’s MCD (emcee D) that gets first mention. He’s pissed off, he’s angry, he’s militant and he’s not shy to tell the listener who and what makes him that way. You need not look further than the album cover and the song titles to know exactly what you’re getting on this album. Song names like “Best at Slavery”, “Government Piss Off, Parliament Spin” and “Policing as a Tool” play out topically exactly as their names imply. The front cover with quotes such as “my soul is mine you can’t buy that”, “facts not myths” and “spread the knowledge inside the black brotherhood” further enforce the themes here.
So all subject matter aside what can you expect sonically? Vocally MCD possesses a deep, rough, dry and raspy voice with a ragga-tinged flow, the extent of which he utilises at different levels throughout the album. For comparison’s sake he’d probably be loosely described as a UK accented Just Ice or perhaps Nine. It’s a superb voice and what makes it even better is that his voice and flow have the right amount of aggression and intimidation in them to suit the feelings he is portraying on wax.
Whilst the production and sounds on the album do vary there is an overall sound and feel to it, which to me is somewhat of a darker and less polished Method Man “Tical” sound mixed with slowed down early 90’s UK hardcore feel with underlying ragga sounds and influences evident as well. Tracks like “How Many Die”, “Story to Tell”, “Best at Slavery” and “Don’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover” all fit into the aforementioned formula with “Best at Slavery” being a perfect rough and rugged opener to the album, setting the scene for the rest of the LP from both a musical and mental perspective.
Interestingly there are a couple songs which also hint towards the early (ie. classic) and funky Muggs/Cypress Hill sounds, namely “Government Piss Off …”, “What Ya Gonna Do” and the dope title track “Psychological Enslavement”. Especially in the case of “What Ya Gonna Do” with a beat and effects that sound like they came straight from Cypress Hill’s self titled debut LP (in fact there may even be samples used here from it).
However “Black Ladies” and “One In A Ya Body” do sound removed from the mostly uniform sound of the album. Both are essentially older hip hop album standard prerequisites. The R&B track – “Black Ladies” being a smooth female singer laden track showing MCD’s respect for the women of the world, not my kind of song from a musical point of view but an admirable and important message nonetheless. The ragga track – “One In A Ya Body” where MCD fully amps up the ragga flow levels to the max and chats away for 4 minutes over a very enjoyable rough and rugged ragga track.
Again though, the verbals on this album are the major highlight and they may even be too much for some people to handle. Stinging attacks on John Major abound (remember this is 1995) such as on “Story to Tell” – “The thieving little f***er John Major if I see you round about on your own near me I’m gonna tuck you”. The British Monarchy are not safe either on “Best at Slavery” with lines that are either going to offend you, have you spitting out your drink laughing or perhaps just have you nodding your head in total agreement – “The Queen Mother’s a slut bag, a true slag, so was both her mum and her dad.” Such lyrics are present from the first verse of the album through to the last. This is no “talking loud and saying nothing” LP.
Thematically this album does remind me of other earlier UK efforts from Katch22 and Black Radical MKII and sits nicely alongside them, although Silent Eclipse do deliver the pro-black and anti-establishment messages in a far stronger and direct manner than their peers – there is no taking of prisoners here and it is totally in your face. What sets it aside also is that the 1995 release date was basically at the dusk of the militant and political hip hop era which essentially defines the album as a strong, poignant and passionate swansong to the era where hip hop was the “Black CNN”.”
1 Best At Slavery 5:10
2 Baptism, War And A Satellite 5:12
3 Don’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover 5:45
4 Government Piss Off, Parliament Spin 4:15
5 Black Ladies 6:08
6 Psychological Enslavement 4:46
7 How Many Die? 5:11
8 What Ya Gonna Do? 4:26
9 Policing As A Tool 5:39
10 One In A Ya Body 4:16
11 Story To Tell 5:20