A film about Northwest hip-hop from 2001
Saiyan Of Earth
The Oscars give an award every year for “best” acting, but there is no award for “most” acting. If there was such an award, it might go to Nicholas Cage or Kristen Wiig. Rappers compete for the same type of honors, and someone like Rakim could win for “best” rapping. Other MCs like Twista or Eminem compete for the “most” rapping category, packing hundreds of words into a verse. Rapid rhymer Asun is a good example of this head-spinning sub-genre of rap music.
Asun took on an alter-ego named Kakurot for this 2001 CD. From the very first Saiyan Of Earth track, “What I Don’t Know,” we are off to the races. Asun blasts a firehose of lyrics at the listener. The haunting “Festive?” places his frenetic flow over Ukrainian composer Mykola Loentovych’s Christmas classic, “Carol Of The Bells.”
The respectable “RAPS” flips one of DJ Premier’s funkiest chops, the one he used in “Check The Technique.” My favorite cut on Saiyan Of Earth is near the end, titled “The Light,” featuring Ashley Young on the keys. “The Light” slows things down a notch, allowing the track some space for the lyrics to stretch and unfold. “I can tell, I think on it, speak on it, while others speculate I become it,” raps Asun. A couple of the songs here show promise, but they contain experimental beats which are too prickly for me to really enjoy. For example, I’m thinking of the odd squealing noises in “Morning Dew,” or the free-jazz madness of “Come Forth.”
One of the things this album does well is recreating the excitement of standing in a circle while your friends take turns freestyling. With a long list of guest MCs, Saiyan Of Earth feels very alive and loose, like the recording is happening at a party rather than a recording studio. But at the end of the day, most of the tracks are five minutes long, and several are close to seven minutes. Rappers would do well to remember that concision can be a useful concept. Written by Novocaine132