I can honestly say that Vidal Baboon is unlike any other hip hop record you’ve heard this year. This ten track opus is about as eclectic as any record I’ve heard in a long while, and that’s one of many reasons this has huge replay value. The Boston, Mass emcee wanted to make a record that was ‘hard and melodic, funny yet personal and politically charged’ and VB is exactly just that.

A blend of dope rhymes, funky, reggae-infused hooks, insane ‘personas’ and sing song hooks – you get it all on this joint. If Bob Marley, R.A the Rugged Man and Zach De La Rocha has some wild, trippie orgy that yielded a child and an album, I’d present Speak! the Rebel and Vidal Baboon to the world like Rafiki presented Simba in the Lion King.


The album is ten tracks deep, 35 minutes in total and a chaotic, immersive ride into the West Boston rappers mind. He ‘raps his ass off’ every time he steps behind that mic and each song reels you in and keeps you hooked. Speak told me his favourite joint is ‘Heartaches & Handgrenades‘ because “for me it is incredibly coded and personal”, and I can certainly dig that. It’s a deep, introspective joint that is crafted with pure passion.

I lost my shit when I heard ‘Acab‘ which was my first introduction to Speak! (now Speak the Rebel because haters are tryna hate!) and bumping it again in context of the album, only makes it better. Featuring Weapon E.S.P, Ghost of the Machine & G Fam Black (if you recognise those names, it’s because they are dropping fire this year and our front page has been filled with their music!) it’s a flaming hot track where all the emcees get a chance to shine and show chemistry. Any wonder they all sound so cohesive on the mic – they’re all close friends from the same hip hop hot spot in West Boston!

It’s difficult to ‘pick out’ tracks as bangers or to listen to singularly because they all work together to make the album what it is, but I do always go back to Acab, Woo, Porsche Mutt and Vidal Baboon. Children of Men featuring Calig Kontra is also addictive.

Score: 7.8 / 10. I love everything about this album, even after a dozen or so spins. It’s hard, it’s funky, it’s fresh. It challenges me because it’s so versatile compared to my ‘in the pocket’ boom bap and that’s a great thing for hip hop. It’s undeniably quality though and I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from Speak! the Rebel in the future.

LIKE and FOLLOW us at Raw Side Hip Hop on Facebook or get at us on Twitter to keep the REAL hip hop discussion going!

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!