Album Review: Apex Zero Follows his Mixtape with Solo Album ‘Reality Provoking Liberation’ (@ApexZero00)

 

‘Those who enjoy freedom now don’t know the taste of it because they enjoy it all the time. Only those who are truly deprived of freedom can under­stand the mean­ing of it.’ – Track 4: Power Source (War at Night)

Apex Zero’s first solo album treats us to a vari­ety of fea­tures includ­ing news snip­pets, Manga exerts, and sci­en­ti­fic com­ment­ary to explain gov­ern­ment pos­i­tion­ing; mak­ing any polit­ic­al rook­ie feel motiv­ated to take action. In short, it’s an edu­ca­tion for the masses — any­one who is fight­ing a social struggle.

Con­fessed to being inspired by the teach­ings of Franz Fan­on, Mal­colm X and Mar­cus Gar­vey; Apex Zero’s sim­il­ar mes­sage of self aware­ness, explan­a­tions of Pan Afrik­an movements/black cul­ture and ideas on justice are placed at the fore­front of the entire album. And it starts from the onset. The intro appro­pri­ately named ‘Head vs Heart’, for example, plays out a com­mon debate heard in most polit­ic­ally driv­en circles. By clev­erly using exerts of Japan­ese Manga series ‘Rourouni Ken­shin’, Zero inter­prets the char­ac­ter; Hiko’s teach­ings as his own mes­sage of deceit and destruc­tion when it comes to valu­ing attack over defence. Whil­st we accept society’s lies to attack, ‘hands will be stained with the wor­st of offences’ illus­trat­ing the cur­rent polit­ic­al state of the nation when it comes to believ­ing in omni­po­tent sys­tems such as mil­it­ary inter­ven­tion and years of colo­ni­al­ism. Libya and the recent debate on Syr­ia come to mind!

Boast­ing an old-school style vocal sampling from fea­tur­ing artist Kyra and using clas­sic beats, over ambi­ent piano and viol­in samples, main­tains an aus­tere approach that’s true to the UK’s under­ground hip hop scene.

We’re also given the pleas­ure of hear­ing from main pro­du­cer and artist OMeza Omni­scient as well as Hip Hop mogul Has­an Salaam whose input to iden­tity and cul­ture is mirrored again­st the retell­ing of throw­ing the oppress­or through facts about Palestine, the bush admin­is­tra­tion and Islam­a­pho­bia.

Assem­bling an impress­ive cast, (even a Japan­ese vocal­ist in ‘Obtain Bear­ing’) ‘Real­ity Pro­vok­ing Lib­er­a­tion’ offers a vari­ety of hard hit­ting hip hop styles as well as more slow paced tracks that all deliv­er a mes­sage of freedom.

The only poten­tial down­side is that uncommon/infrequent listen­ers could mis­in­ter­pret his pas­sion for aggres­sion, there­fore for­cing this set towards the hard­core sec­tion of the record shop. On occa­sion the artic­u­la­tion is not com­mer­cially aes­thet­ic or what we recog­nise, but it’s not arti­fi­cial either. Turn­ing up without syn­thes­isers or elec­tron­ic inspired vocals, a raw in-depth vocal­ist that com­bines a unique graph­ic nov­el ele­ment, comes as a relief for us old-school­ers who enjoy the occa­sion­al glance at Manga animé/comics. A true under­ground artist.

The solo album by Apex Zero ‘Real­ity Pro­vok­ing Lib­er­a­tion’ releases 28th Octo­ber 2013.

Fol­low the blog: http://firstandlastuk.blogspot.co.uk/

Down­load the album: http://www.firstandlastpride.co.uk/

Read the inter­view: http://www.iamhiphopmagazine.com/kickin-knowledge-an-interview-with-apex-zero/

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Subika Anwar

About Subika Anwar

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