Ricca Razor Sharp 12 Steps to a Deffer You

Evolving through rap/metal and funk/hip-hop hybrid bands before going solo, Ricca Razor Sharp debuts his battle-honed mic skills with his 12-track debut, 12 Steps to a Deffer You. Ricca dabbles in the battle raps you’d expect but also delves into humorous punch lines, tales of everyday existence and socially conscious raps. His flow is solid, with an early ’90s influence, and is easy to understand whether the beats are slow and minimal or rockin’ and up-tempo. Mantrakid’s production is a mix of old school styles updated for the 21st century and beyond. While the two have a natural chemistry that is evident throughout the album, things don’t really become interesting until the Cypress Hill-sounding "AYA (Spin Ya Head Back Round)” four songs in, which ups the tempo and the energy level. But once Ricca has your attention, he doesn’t let go. He flexes his skills and brags for the next two tracks ("Keepin’ On” and "Dope MC”) and then mellows out with some relationship woes ("Call Her ‘Honey’”), cracks jokes about life ("Game of Life,” which becomes a recurring theme in the artwork), relates a too-true low-income experience ("Safeway Card”), riffs off the children’s song of the same name for "Hokey Pokey,” and ends with a couple of meaningful songs ("War Against Ignorance” and "Planet’s What You Make It”). Before you know it, it’s over and you’re left wishing for more, but maybe now you’re just a little bit "deffer.” (Neferiu)