Back as a youngster, my neighbour had gotten a job working as a promotional rep for an College radio station; during his tenure, he often let me hang posters and things of that nature, paying me in promo tapes and records. This was during the Def Jux era. I fondly remember that as a coming of age period for me, and anything that remotely reminds me of it gets an auto-pass.
Every once in awhile I come across artists who evoke those memories, without trying too hard — which is corny. Luckily I found a great one who’s been on repeat all weekend, The Lord Razu. Drawing inspiration from 90s Hip Hop, video games, Kung-Fu flicks, anime (and things of that nature) he sounds like a descended of acts like GP-Wu, Kill Army. With a penchant for blending drum and bass elements, this self-produced rapper looks like a chip off of a young El-P’s block.
His new project, Release, is full of bangers. Kicking off with the booming “Lyrical Frankenstein,” the project has a timeless sound. Immediate highlights were the head nodding “Lurkin’” with its dancehall chorus, and the piano-driven “Backstory.”
He has a relaxed cadence, and range of pen game that traverses a few lanes. There are some dope storytelling elements on the Latin-tinged love track “Cupid’s Kunai,” all the way to looser conceptual bar-for-bar gems like the spacey “Outta Time.” The flow on “Family” is crazy; he comes across like a long-lost Wu affiliate.
Drenched in nostalgia with contemporary touches, and a healthy heap of samurai/ninja-ism, Razu is a gem—more than worth a spin. Highly recommend. Also, check out the visual treatment for “Lurkin’,” above.