AWAR Spoils of War

AWAR Spoils of War
9
New York rapper AWAR's new album is a callback to an era when more was best, beats were fat and rappers were poets. Spoils of War is 14 tracks that take the listener into the mind of the man in an effort, it seems, to justify all that's he's been through.
 
One song is titled "448g" (a pound, for the Americans); another, "Trials and Tribulations." And the content of these songs is typically '90s. He talks of killing people lest he be killed, moving weight until his raps took off, of blowing a lot of weed smoke, of laying down "dead presidents," etc.
 
"Money Machine Music," featuring Cormega, is a standout, as are "Well Known Investors" with Raekwon, and "Rolex Time" with CyHi the Prynce. The first has a beat so huge and melodic it contains record scratches, money machines counting and a haunting violin refrain that comes in just as you realized it was gone, to name only a few of its sounds. Others continue this trend of beats so against the current grain as to seem reactionary. It's like AWAR has not listened to a piece of music since Gang Starr broke up.
 
Despite all this, he claims on "Day One" that is not "trying to take [us] back" or "rewind the '90s." I am not sure why he'd say such malarkey — he is clearly updating a genre I didn't realize was in wont of one. Although at times a little stereotypical, there are no "skip songs," no boring beats, and certainly nothing short of extremely clever wordplay. It's an album that tells the listener that they're missing something they never knew they'd lost. Namely, the love of the '90s that every hip-hop head has. (Independent)