Novatore teams up with A.M. Early Morning to form a formidable rhyme-duo, delivering killer bars over the dark, heavy production from one of the games best beatmakers Stu Bangas. The result is ‘Kingdom Of Criminality‘ and it’s an album that you are going to want to invest some serious listening time into. Novatore has been building in the underground for a number of years now, especially with his Embrace the Darkness & Embrace the Darkness II offerings. It was the latter that we first heard the pairing of Novatore and A.M. Early Morning over some C-Lance brilliance (‘Looking Back’), and KOC is largely an extension of that.
‘Sons Of Satan‘ is a killer introductory joint (ignoring the actual intro track lol) as both emcees grab the mic by the throat and rip some hard and heavy bars of the gritty, grimey Stu Bangas production. The next track is the title track ‘Kingdom Of Criminality‘ and alongside the penmanship of Nov and A.M. we get Spit Gemz who is as surgical with the bars as any emcee out there. The chemistry between them all, and the more upbeat, jovial, key-laced beat from Bangas has this track on repeat. ‘Jumanji‘ is something else as Stu Bangas makes an even darker, more muffled and dense boom bap track for A.M and Novatore to slice up. It’s tough, the beat sounds like and elephant stampede and the flow is ferocious.
One of the hardest joints on the album is ‘A Circle Of Goats‘ and sharing the spotlight for this one are Lord Goat and Recognise Ali. Stu Bangas provides a robust, boom bap track with high end intricacies that make it more than interesting, without taking away from the brutal bully rap that these hardcore four emcees spit. We get a more ‘g-funk meets horror movie’ themed joint from Stu on ‘Left In Ruins‘ and it’s a fascinating number that Novatore and A.M. Early Morning cruise all over with ease, but with their trademark rough edges. ‘Cannibal Feast’ delves into a deeper and darker corner, but that certainly plays into the hands of everyone – Stu nails it sonically and Nov & A.M. are built for this kind of abrasive bar play.
‘Pissy Stairwells‘ sees Novatore and A.M. Early Morning going back and forth, trading bars with exceptional chemistry and as a listener, you’d love to hear more of this because they feed off each other so well. The sinister soundtrack creates quite the vibe too. Chino XL makes his presence felt when he kicks things off on ‘Another Dimension‘ with his usual fervour. The cuts on this track stand out as well, and Novatore & A.M. certainly hold their own with the hip hop heavyweight. The final track is ‘Underestimated‘ and Stu Bangas brings in a killer guitar riff into the production for a nice change of approach. Apathy also graces this joint and does what you’d expect him to do – slay the mic. The rock-infused joint uses some top tier samples and uses that ‘Mike Tyson – punch you in the face’ attitude and energy to round out the album on a high.
Bangers: A Circle Of Goats, Underestimated, Pissy Stairwells, Sons Of Saturn, Jumanji
Score: 9 / 10. A heavy, hard-hitting album that not only features top tier production at the hands of Stu Bangas, but sees Novatore and A.M. Early Morning take yet another huge step forward as they continue not only their own chemistry, but their own individual journeys as super talented emcees. Their pens are razor sharp and their flow is hot, which, along with cohesion, chemistry and really well picked features, makes this a wonderful addition to the hip hop collection in 2022. Give yourself plenty of time, you’ll be spinning this more than once.