Album Review: Agartha Audio & Taiyamo Denku – ‘Quadrofiendia’
So I’ve been meaning to write-up the Quadrofiendia record for some time now, but I’ve just been super busy (read: lazy) lately. This has been on my playlist ever since Nasa from Uncommon Records tweeted out about it. I was admittedly only semi-familiar with Taiyamo Denku and embarrassingly not familiar at all with Agartha Audio. I try to keep my eye on as much as possible, but, shit…sometimes stuff slides by me. Sue me.
So from the first song, “Welcome To Wonderland”, I immediately knew I was going to dig this album. The track had a cool Bizarre Ride II feel to it with the smooth old-school production and the unique way Taiyamo was spitting over the track. This was a very nice start, but I’m happy to say it goes up from there. When “Here Lies Lyricism” hit I really started paying attention. The song comes in with a nice layered beat and Taiyamo immediately comes in going hard with (I presume) comparisons of hip hop with lacking lyrics to things like “A game without rules. Street ball without Wesley. Mayhem with no frenzy. New Years with no party.” By the time the third track hit, aside from noticing just how great of an MC Taiyamo is, I noticed how dope of a producer Agartha Audio aka Dig Dug is. Listening to this album, the production stood out extra hard. The beats are all nicely layered and ranging from older, head nodding tracks to more modern slower ones. Overall, he produces smooth beats using really nice instrumentation and a lot of cool sounds. He creates a pretty nice mix of progressive hip hop with boom bap elements. This is a good thing because it doesn’t lean too far on either side enough to alienate die-hard fans of either sound/subgenre.
If you’re not familiar with Taiyamo Denku, don’t feel out of the loop. Just fix it! This dude’s flow is crackhead-style addictive. At times he reminds me a little bit of Action Bronson. Sometimes he reminds me a bit of Fatlip. And, shit, I even got a bit of Movies For The Blind era Cage. But, overall, he has a dope style that makes me really pay attention to his voice. Not to mention his lyrics are really fresh. “Pound my fist on concrete slabs. Blood between cracks. Emotion acts as a barrier. Blockade the facts.” And, I can’t talk about his lyrics without mentioning this line, “Need a big titty bitch jumping out the cake like Under Siege” which had me cracking the fuck up. If you’ve watched Under Siege as a young lad then you’ll definitely remember getting a major happy during that scene. But anyway…moving on. He flows so perfectly over the Agartha Audio production that this is alongside Killer Mike and El-P’s R.A.P. Music, OC and Apollo Brown’s Trophies and Illogic and Blockhead’s Prepare For Capture EP as one of the modern MC/producer combo projects that I think worked out perfectly.
The album also had a lot of impressive features from hip hop greats like Sadat X, L.I.F.E. Long, Shyheim The Man Child, Vast Aire, Craig G, Illogic and, one of my personal favorites, Masai Bey. I’m always happy to see Masai Bey on a track and his handling of the hook “Get your game up dude, failure’s a predator and you could be food” on” Predator” was really dope and sticks in your head. Craig G lays a nasty verse on “Road Is Ruff” and Sadat X closes the album out in style. This is just mentioning a few of the features as all of them sound good on the album, which I found really odd. It’s not often that none of the features on an album stand out as being a little bit of a negative detraction from the overall enjoyment of it.
All-in-all, I really enjoyed the shit out of this record. I actually liked it far more than I expected to, which is nice to have happen nowadays. So many people put together albums for what seems like the sole purpose of just saying “I have an album out.” Instead, these guys got together and crafted a quality hip hop album with, honestly, no skippable tracks. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying this is the most innovative or mind-blowing album you’ll hear all year. What I am saying is that these guys do this style of hip hop far better than a lot of other people I’ve heard try. It’s like having a major appetite for a piece of pizza, swinging by a relatively unknown joint you’ve only heard a few people talk about and getting a really good slice. It’s not like it was some super fancy pizza with caviar and grilled duck on it. It was just a good ass piece of pizza that satisfied your craving perfectly. Now whenever you think of good pizza joints, this one will, hopefully, come up in conversation. That was a long ass analogy for this being a good ass record. Whatever.
In closing, I’ll say, after listening to Quadrofiendia, if you don’t find yourself walking around saying “Taiyamo Denku” in your head in the same weird ass inflection he does on the album, then your ears don’t work properly. Also, if no one is hitting up Agartha Audio for production after this release, then something is truly wrong with hip hop and Satan has won. Quote me on that shit.
“Hip hop lies, but lyrics lie here.”
Pick up the album here: http://uncommonrecords.bandcamp.com/album/quadrofiendia