Pep Love Ascension

It's taken a while but Pep Love, one of the Hieroglyphics lesser-known members, has finally come to the forefront. While he may be best known for being the leadoff hitter on Del tha Funkee Homosapien's "Undisputed Champs" B-side, Pep Love is practically unrecognisable from that 1994 appearance. Boasting a commanding flow and a rich vocabulary, he is nothing short of impressive, balancing an insistent philosophical edge with the urge to hand out verbal beat-downs. His forceful flow consistently sparks the intellect, whether he's creating intricate visuals on the peaceful "Living Is Beautiful" or the contemplative "Pacific Heights." He also outlines motivational treatises on "US" and "Black People (Melanin Magnetic)." In case you'd doubt his skills in a battle, he slings darts on "The Fight Club," an energetic track produced by Evidence. Unfortunately the production is the only disappointment on this album. While it is by no means terrible, the structure of many of the beats doesn't really match Pep Love's hype-inducing flows, when they could have taken them to uncharted heights. Nevertheless, Pep Love's long awaited debut illustrates his long absence has definitely worked to his benefit. (Hiero Imperium)