Words About Music
Hieroglyphics “The Kitchen”
Despite their huge influence on underground hip-hop music, you might not be aware of the group Hieroglyphics. They formed in 1991 in Oakland, California, and, as you can see by the cover of this particular album, there are a lot of people in this group. Members include Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, Casual, Pep Love, Phesto, A-Plus, Opio, Tajai, Domino, and DJ Toure. Their 1998 debut album “3rd Eye Vision” is often considered a classic in underground hip hop, but their second album “Full Circle” didn’t quite get the same good reviews. Well now they’re back with their third album and first in 10 years, and here’s what I thought of it.
Now, I’ll admit, this is my first time listening to Hieroglyphics. They’ve been on my must-listen list for a while, but I just never got around to it until I found out about this album. And I must say, I was kind of disappointed.
At its best, this album is mostly average. The lyrics aren’t entirely memorable, and for the most part the beats are somewhat lackluster and repetitive. I understand that beats are usually repetitive, but the best beats can be repetitive without being really boring. In a world where people like MF DOOM and Aesop Rock are keeping the underground interesting (despite their less-than-friendly fanbase) it’s hard to listen to “The Kitchen” and not be just underwhelmed. For what its worth, some of Del’s verses seem like teasers or precursors to the upcoming long-awaited Deltron 3030 album, which I’m infinitely more excited for than I was for this.
To its credit, “The Kitchen” is by no means an offensive release. It’s not annoying in any way, nothing any of the members say makes me angry, none of the lyrics seemed to be ripped off from anyone else, etc. It’s mostly an album you can’t help but turn your brain off and space out when you’re listening to it. I couldn’t really recall any lines from the album from memory. The only thing about the album I could recall was that one of the songs incorporates a sample from Beastie Boys’ “Paul Revere.” But, like I said, none of the few memorable parts of the album save it from its underwhelming nature, and it makes me sad that a collective with such a beloved first album could come back after 10 years and release such a boring record. I’ll at least give the first two albums a listen, I know that much. But as of now, I am not at all impressed with Hieroglyphics’ third album.
SCORE – 5.9
FAVORITE TRACKS – Golden, Indonesia, It’s Partly Me