I’ve been keeping a keen eye out for this one as a follow up to the ‘Scribes’ joint, but also considering Comet Madmen’s ‘Cataclysm’ one was of the albums of 2019 – I was hoping this would bring the same fire. And the Screwball rhyme vet hasn’t let me down. This new Simon Phoenix release from Poet is nothing but hardcore raps and beats that body the speakers.

It’s an eerie feeling man I tell you, when you’re banging the ‘Never Give Up’ track with the windows down and yelling out ‘Wooohaaaaan’ but we are in weird times. But, without dwelling on the Roni V, the fact that many of us are being locked down and quarantined, this album comes at a really good time. Firstly, it’s replayability is epic – I listened through on repeat for three straight spins, picking up something else each and every time. Secondly, it’s ‘fight music’ and just gets me amped to overcome anything. This is the Screwball way and BP delivers.

If you haven’t heard the entire album yet, no doubt you’ve caught the singles – ‘Public Enemy’ and ‘Declare War’ with the B-side ‘F.O.H’ so you know this album is the real deal. Check the video for Declare War below.

But the album from start to finish, is full of hardbody tracks without any skippable moments. Blaq still has such hunger for his art and fire in his delivery – each song puts you in Poet’s shoes and it’s an audio adventure. Even if we can’t get out on the streets, this album keeps us IN the streets.

In summary, this Simon Phoenix joint is so fire that it immediately cements itself as an Album of the Year contender – and we’ve seen some fire in 2020 already. This is authentic New York bully rap, highlighted by Blaq’s iconic gruff flow, sick production with quality cuts and samples. Shout out must go to Erex for those cuts as well as Comet Madmen (and Erex) for mixing and mastering this classic. It’s varied enough to stay interesting with some of the low tone, bassline heavy, prophetic tracks like ‘Everybody Gangsta’ as well as the street anthems as mentioned above. Get it in the rotation now and you won’t stop spinning it.

Bangers: Public Enemy, Never Give Up, Once upon a time, Animal, Run for Cover, Declare War

Score: 9 / 10. Easily one of the better releases of the year. Shame that it’s really only 10 full tracks and the rest are interludes / intro / outro, but that’s the only knock on what is a fire-filled street soundtrack from one of the hardest emcees on the circuit.

Check out Simon Phoenix on Blaq Poet’s Bandcamp now. Cop the digital or physical, but make sure you show some love for the artist!

About The Author

By Brutus Maximus

Founder of Raw Side Hip Hop. Been rocking with the hip hop culture for over 30 years. Love the creativity, authenticity of the art and the culture as a whole. Shout out to the real ones making and supporting true hip hip and the artists who make it!