Genelec & Memphis Reigns Scorpion Circles

The proper introduction of this Santa Cruz, CA, duo was the Fishin' In Troubled Waters compilation (the maiden release for Hip Hop Infinity) with "Ground Zero," a track from their Lemme Make Love To You demo that was not only one of the best tracks on the compilation but also kicked the most ass. Hoping for more of the same, in other words, a spaced-out "big bang," their debut is instead a ground-bound earthquake sound. Merging intelligent, next school lyricism with a mid-'90s affinity for dusty boom-bap and a general party vibe, Scorpion Circles is far from the freaky sounds of "Ground Zero." This time around, Genelec's beats are wimpy half of the time, with pretty little samples and simple drum loops. There are some exceptions, like the title track, "Anarchist Cookbook," "Thunderbox," "Organism" and "Give & Take," all songs that hint at what could have been. While the beats are not bad - there's plenty going on within most of them - they just aren't always that exciting. Rather, Scorpion Circles excels because of the lyrics, smart battle rhymes and witty tales of society's ills that find easy comparisons to Company Flow, MF Doom and the Arsonists (when they were good). Both Genelec (who sounds best on "Thunderbox)" and Memphis Bleek (er... Reigns, I mean) are impressive as lyricists, although it's Memphis Reigns' higher pitched vocals that express more charisma throughout. "I don't give a fuck if I'm the only person really jocking it," rhymes Reigns on "Organisms." No fears, because many will be jocking Scorpion Circles, I was just expecting something different from the teaser. (HHI)