Hezekiah I Predict A Riot

While actually causing a riot may be a bit of a stretch, Philly-based producer/MC Hezekiah sure tries his hand at provoking one with a far-reaching sophomore set that filters the more caustic elements of hip-hop, rock and soul through the instantly recognisable sonic filter of his historic home town. This time, Hezekiah relies heavily on dirty, distorted electric guitars for his standout sound, toughening up the stiff beats and pointed wordplay of cuts like "If One Falls” and "Moments In Sometime” with sharp riffs and desperate hook melodies. The album’s more soulful movements are attacked in much the same way, with the handy beatsmith tossing up climactic string- and piano-laced knockers with raw vocal help from Jaguar Wright ("I See Yaw”) before invoking an uplifting church-like session alongside Bilal’s effortless vocal ingenuity on "Looking Up.” While his flow may feel a little loose at times, Hezekiah surrounds himself with enough vocal heat (Freeway, most notably) to pad out this well-rounded collection of neo-soul survivalist hip-hop. (Soulspazm)