One of the albums of the year so far comes from the Chicago spitter IAMGAWD in the form of ‘Murder Castle‘ with The Black Depths. IAMGAWD has a commanding voice which he uses to deliver his engaging street poetry and high level lyricism. The gritty, hardbody beats and flow marry up perfectly to create a unique sound and the album is engaging to the listener from the jump. Not only is this a quality hip hop album, this is a quality listening experience and has been on MAD rotation over the past few weeks since it dropped.
This is somewhat of a ‘throwback’ style album. IAMGAWD has a hunger and a passion in his voice that makes him completely engaging and brings authenticity to the track. There are no smoke and mirrors, just killer bars, an emcee who sits in the pocket with his dope flow, great beat selection and semi-varied subject matter. His wordplay is creative and witty and The Black Depths has created an audio experience that is transcendent with it’s dark, boom bap underscore but experimentation with a range of sounds and vibes keeping things really interesting.
With only a handful of features, this really puts IAMGAWD in the spotlight which is what an artist album should be. And when you are meticulous with your craft and have taken the time to pen proper bars, then highlighting your work is important. Regarding the features though, these may not be your ‘usual’ feature spitters, but the guest verses on this album are sublime. Vakill joins the fray for ‘Buck 50s N Starter Jackets‘, Vic Spencer taps in with a smooth 16 on ‘Triple Homicide‘ and J.Arrr goes next level on ‘Cheat Code Flows‘.
Each artist leaves their mark on the track but IAMGAWD remains front and centre, controlling the narrative while showcasing killer chemistry. ‘House of 1000 Corpses‘ featuring Skanks and A.M. Early Morning is dark and moody with vicious bars, while ‘Uncontrolled Substance‘ has a really heavy, melancholy synth reverbing throughout. Waterr joins the lineup on ‘Cooley High‘ where IAWGAWD picks up the flow and starts giving it to listeners double time which works well alongside Waterr who rides the joint perfectly with his more velvety vocal.
Bangers: Straitjacket Rap, The Most Exalted, Uncontrolled Substance, Cheat Code Flows, Murder Castle.
Score: 10 / 10. Anything less would be a crime. This is exactly the kind of album that I check for each and every week. The beats are on point – varying from dark and moody, to having an upbeat vibe without losing their edge. IAMGAWD has that compelling flow and clearly works arduously on his craft to ensure this level of lyricism, but also that delivery you can’t help but commit to. The features are insane and this has HUGE replay value, having not left the rotation in a month.