Savageland II

In case you’ve been sleeping and haven’t heard of the juggernaut that is Savageland (comprising Reckonize Real, Weapon E.S.P. and Ghost of the Machine), allow me to give you the 4-1-1. Savageland is an underground hip hop supergroup whose sole purpose is to deliver the highest quality hip hop ever, and to push their own boundaries of talent while giving hip hop heads music that is robust, meaty and has huge replay value. That’s it in a nutshell – but to simplify it as such would be disrespectful. However, on the back of their first self-titled album in 2020, the trio are finally back with the sequel and it is something special and well worth the wait to drop a flawless release.

Savageland II‘ is one of the best hip hop albums to drop in 2024. The quality of production is God-tier, the bars from Weapon E.S.P. and Ghost of the Machine are elite and the chemistry between the trio, and the couple of features on the project is electric. The first album was special, but with a few years of honing their craft, being incredibly picky with their wordplay, vocabulary, delivery and beat choice – this has taken it to the next level. There is a maturity in the content, a polish to the project while still maintaining that raw, rip your face off ‘Bruce Lee Wit The Scratches‘ kind of deal. The result is 13 tracks of unskippable hip hop, and an audio journey that weaves in and out of different pockets within hip hop / boom bap / bully rap genres.

The albums starts with a bang, a dope boom bap joint with wicked cuts, menacing undertone and a real energy on ‘Baba Vanga‘. It’s a triumphant return for Savageland and the contrasting styles of Weapon E.S.P and Ghost of the Machine work brilliantly alongside the scratches from DJ Grazzhoppa. ‘War Calls’ and ‘Cadavers’ featuring Lord Goat are two brilliant tracks that have already been released as singles, but when placed within the context of the overall project, play a key role in delivering that energy and cohesion, while still exploring the diversity of drumwork and lyrical exploits.

Divinicide‘ builds nicely with a somewhat ‘sci-fi’ kind of vibe infiltrating the boom bap production of Reckonize Real. There are some subtle intricacies within this score that makes it such an interesting listen, while Weapon and Ghost bring those hardbody bars. DJ Grazzhoppa is back lending his hand to the cuts again with precision too. ‘The Fool King‘ moves the needle by bringing a more upbeat energy which permeates the production, but also invades the flow of both emcees – Weapon is razor sharp here, while Ghost gets deep and Death Over Simplicity is a guilty pleasure. There is a haunting vibe that invades the headphones on every listen too!

The pace and energy of the project takes a well-deserved time out with ‘21 Grams‘ an almost spoken word / slam poetry kind of vibe. It’s stripped back, the guitar riff brings a poised and melancholic energy and the bars remain fierce. If you don’t nod your noggin to ‘Copy Paste Copy‘ then you better check you have a pulse! This track has a huge beat thumping into the headphones with a haunting vocal element throughout. The flows are deliberate, the bars are heavy and this joint is a straight up ANTHEM! ‘Beyond Saving‘ has a more dystopian, futuristic funk to it, with a crispness within the drums and the both emcees deliver poised, poignant bars.

Another soulful palate cleanser in the form of ‘Feed The Hawk‘ which gives the headphones a minutes reprieve, before ‘Operation Scum‘ gets back to that more traditional, boom bap sound, but more crisp than dusty. The chemistry between Weapon E.S.P and Ghost of the Machine is so clearly evident on this joint and the energy is high as both spit heavy bars. ‘Respawn‘ features The Bad Seed and this joint is FIRE. The production is moody and palpable, like the track has a heart beat, then Seed, Ghost and Weap get to making it bleed with razor sharp bars.

The penultimate track ‘Contingency Plan‘ is short and sharp, two minutes of haunting, menacing production with some bravado appearing within the bars and a somewhat soulful tone, and that change up is CRAZY dope! Finally, the album concludes with ‘Green Skies‘ which is – in short – savage! This joint had a huge sound, big, kick ass beat with a grimey vibe and bars that make you want to wild out! It’s the perfect note to close out what has been a spectacular project.

All in all, it took four years to reach our ears but it is well worth the weight. Reckonize Real has really taken a leap with the production on this, creating a score that is interesting and introduces a range of intricacies and additional elements that make the music itself have a voice. Ghost of the Machine has always been super smooth, and he weaves in between his introspective insights and verbal darts with precision while Weapon E.S.P. delivers on countless levels, his lyrical prowess on display, but also the versatility of wordplay and flow. The handful of features are first class, ensuring they have an impact without taking anything away from the Savageland collective.

If you’re looking for an album that is going to not only make you nod your head, but also rewind some joints – this is it. It will no doubt be featured in a range of those ‘end of year’ lists and with good reason. This is a superb hip hop album from Savageland. Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait four years again!

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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!

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