Maspyke The Blackout

While they hail from Springfield, Massachusetts and not fictional Springfield, USA, Maspyke, much like the animated characters in The Simpsons, cast a critical eye on society, albeit without the satirical humour. Instead, producer Roddy Rod and MCs H-Bomb and Tableek have been purveying a low-down gritty and grimy steelo showcasing their brand of "Far East Politics” over a series of 12-inches gradually converting more heads. The potent trio come off like they reside somewhere in the nether region between the Boot Camp Clik and Brand Nubian; early ’90s entities one feels Maspyke have a kinship with given their decade-long existence and requisite back-in-the-day yarn "Spirit of ’92.” Even this track’s deceptively simple jazzy bounce reveals Roddy Rod’s minimalist yet meticulous approach that judiciously deploys quake-inducing bass lines and buzz saws cutting down trees just when you think it’s safe. The latter aural obscurity appears on "All Things Fall” where H-Bomb and Tableek present a sober meditation on the inevitability of death through verses discussing suicide and dysfunctional families. Further thought-provoking rhymes stress the importance of self-determination that resists tempting paths taken and flaunted by blinging rappers and eye candy video girls. Their only misstep comes when they rightfully rail against anti-Islamic sentiments on "Lost In Belief,” but do so after having just shown some heavy-handed intolerance of their own. Aside from this, Maspyke avoid coming off as stuffy and preachy, a fate they ward off with Roddy Rod’s exceptional production and battle-ready mic skills, so when Tableek declares "Where’s the light?/In a world turning so dark/This is how the mic sparks,” it’s with the knowledge that a balance of beats and thought-provoking rhymes is truly evident. (Bukarance)