SevStatik SpeakLife

Albany, NY's SevStatik, who claims membership in both Tunnel Rats and Deepspace 5, has released a well-rounded album with SpeakLife. He creates simple, honest rap parables ("Disappear"), odes to the four elements of hip-hop ("Close"), concept songs ("Meds") and scathing battle raps ("Da Pointman") with equal amounts of skill. But for this "visionary MC" there's more needed to contribute to the art of hip-hop then just skill. "They look fresh/they spit text/they even got a little flow that be on some next," raps Sev of many of his contemporaries, "but nonetheless it's/unimpressive/if intentions aren't too uplift the session." And SpeakLife almost always has a moral, whether it be strength in God ("Invisible Bars"), being yourself ("Right Now"), or the responsibility to the music ("Over the Influence"). The album is one of the better releases on Uprok, but it tends to get lost amongst the many similar-sounding albums on the label. Dert and David Santos have both success and failure with their beat contributions, but Cheapshot's two productions are amongst the standout tracks. "Over the Influence" is an up-tempo b-boy jam, while "Close" is the underground anthem for true heads. Santos layers the strings on the dramatic "I Apologize" for SevStatik and DS5's Listener to discuss the downside of the industry; Dert holds his end down with two butt-shakin' club grooves, "Poor Penmanship" and "Rock of Ages." Add "All For a Purpose," the touching "Disappear," and "Global" (without the chorus) to the above songs, lose the rest, and SpeakLife would be a tight album. (Uprok)