Moka Only Vermilion

To many, Moka Only is notorious as that guy on the hooks who ruined Swollen Members with the disaster that was Heavy, or something like that. But more importantly, Moka Only is hip-hop’s "most prolific,” having released a slew of solo cassettes, CDs and vinyl both on his own and through a variety of indie and major labels. Vermilion, his latest, is the best of them. Moka returns to his roots with a greater concentration of samples and raps rather than keyboards, synths and singing. Sure, there’s still feel good tracks like "So Kona” or "Cheeka Cheeka” but Vermilion contains more anger and venom than usual, like maybe Moka has experienced the ugly underbelly of the industry. For example, on "I Don't Give A...,” Moka opens up about compromising with Nettwerk over the schizophrenic, poppy The Desired Effect, which was released in 2005 during the recording of Vermilion. He also looks back on some of the music-based decisions he’s made ("God Bless” and "When...?”), stakes his claims on rap stardom ("Do”) and attempts to "Raise the Bar.” Whether ballad, boom bap or experimental, Moka does it exceptionally well. Unfortunately, he also offers up a few short teasers of beats that really should have become songs. Still, it’s good to have "the filthy old Moke back.” (Urbnet)