Published Nov 14, 2014For Toronto rap crew Swamp Thing, staying fly means rhyming about the stratosphere and the solar system. This trio of geeky MCs — composed of Timbuktu, Chokeules and Savilion — combine hip-hop and sci-fi, two seemingly opposing fixations, on Outer Limits. The result is a surprisingly cohesive concept album.
Their intergalactic rap odyssey kicks off with "Space Helmet," which boasts an operatic instrumental reminiscent of the original Star Trek theme song. This opening track alone name-checks Martians, lasers, rockets and flying saucers, chalking up more spacey references in one tune than fellow Canadian rap crew Spacesuits had on their entire sci-fi-themed album (a key gripe in Exclaim!'s review of the recent release).
Much of the interstellar terminology on Outer Limits' tracks is unabashedly dorky and undeniably funny. On mid-album tune "To The Next," Timbuktu puts a hilarious deep space twist on 2Pac's famed "California Love," verse, while early cut "Muddy Step" subverts rap's bling fixation with Savilion's clever line: "Gold on my face like I'm R2-D2's homeboy." Yet, that nerdy sensibility leads the members of Swamp Thing to spit some cringe-worthy clunkers. The alien ambiance and synth instrumental of "Neon Gold" are sullied by Timbuktu's lame Tom Cruise and Mike Meyers analogies. The same can be said for the otherworldly organ riffery of "Forbidden Planet," which is practically dashed by Chokeules' feeble punchlines like "My phaser is set on 'eat a dick.'"
Fortunately, the album's closing numbers are more imaginative. "Corinians," (featuring stellar verses from fellow nerd rappers Ghettosocks and Wordburglar) is brimming with clever couplets about microchips that can help the MCs speak Chinese. The album's most inventive track may be "Wasteland," thanks to Timbuktu's post-apocalyptic descriptions about being "back from deep space, comin' outta' stasis, roamin' through the husks of rusted sky scrapers." By boldly going into these deep space concepts, Swamp Thing make Outer Limits an out-of-this-world LP. (Urbnet)