Tag Archives: Anatomy

New Joint – M9 / Tesla’s Ghost

M9 ft. Tesla’s Ghost – “Mont Blanc” (@Melanin_9 / 2014)

New visuals for this dope Anatomy-produced track previously featured on the vinyl-version of the Triple Darkness member’s 2012 album “Magna Carta”.

Album Review – Melanin 9 a.k.a. M9

magna carta cover

Melanin 9

“Magna Carta”

(M9Ether.BandCamp.Com)

Although there may be many artists today prepared to sell their soul and dumb down their content in an attempt to appeal to the masses and achieve their fifteen minutes of fame, there are still real emcees out there who aren’t willing to take the easy route, choosing instead to put hours of effort into mastering their craft, keeping their lyrical swords sharp as they walk in the footsteps of the greats that came before them. London-based lyricist Melanin 9 a.k.a. M9 is one such artist.

As both a member of the formidable Triple Darkness camp and a solo artist, the skilled wordsmith has built up an impressive catalogue of work in recent years, with each release further showcasing M9’s natural talent for dropping vivid, thought-provoking rhymes built to invigorate braincells over quality production.

A student of verbal heavyweights such as The GZA and Killah Priest, M9 has always carried his mid-90s / golden-era influences with pride, whilst ensuring his own work has resonated with sincere emotion and individuality, rather than simply sounding like a rapper struggling to find his own identity who spent too much time with Raekwon’s “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…” album and RZA’s “Wu-Tang Manual”.

Having already set mics alight on releases such as 2007’s “High Fidelity” mixtape and 2008’s “144,000” project, “Magna Carta” stands as M9’s finest musical moment to date. A brilliantly executed display of intelligent hardcore Hip-Hop, the album is packed with memorable tracks that range from the militantly defiant to the soulfully reflective.

The opening title track captures M9’s gift for painting descriptive images in your mind’s eye as he tells how he will “pose for cameras with ex-felons using hands as weapons”, whilst the Anatomy-produced “Landslide” features melodic pianos sprinkled over bass-heavy beats like gentle rain on cold concrete, with the UK microphone fiend mixing mystical wordplay and harsh street imagery in his rhymes.

“The 7 Blues” is a stunning-yet-sombre gem, with the melancholy, string-laden production of Hey!Zeus and Madame Pepper’s pained, heart-wrenching vocals helping to extract every last drop of feeling from M9’s haunting tale of a lost soul murdered in cold blood on the streets of Britain’s capital city, with the sense of tragedy driven home by the grounded emcee’s refusal to glorify the pitfalls of urban life, instead describing the impact of senseless violence on those left behind to live with the loss (“A spirit came to his mum on the night he was killed, Something ain’t right she could feel, Like the steel he was blown with, Hands shaking as she tries to phone him, A seismic myriad of emotion, Like the unremitting vigorous waves in the ocean…”).

The hypnotic Ohbliv-produced “Love’s Stencil” finds the emcee exploring the spiritual journey he’s been on whilst attempting to balance building a successful relationship with life situations and a career in the rap game, whilst Jehst’s huge drums on “Heartless Island” sound like a giant pounding on the gate of a gothic castle, with Triple Darkness comrade Cyrus Malachi on-hand to drop a typically intricate, mind-bending verse that sees the gruff lyricist travelling from inner-city tower blocks to intergalactic stars through the power of words.

“White Russian”, the transatlantic collabo between M9 and current underground favourite Roc Marciano, is another immediate standout, with Anatomy’s dusty, shuffling beats providing a fitting sonic backdrop for Marcberg’s slick, Strong Island stylings and Melanin’s esoteric flows.

The menacing Tony Mahoney-produced “Organized Democracy” finds the forthright homegrown emcee aggressively attacking the illusion of a free society as he journeys deep into the Matrix and offers thoughts on racial profiling, police harassment and political hypocrisy (“It all adds up in statistics, It’s big business to get you shifted, This wretched State, Depends on how many arrests they make…Profits in the pockets of politicians with big properties…”).

Throughout “Magna Carta”, M9 keeps the listener’s attention with a relentless stream of inspired, multi-layered verses that deserve to be heard again and again in order to fully appreciate the energy and thought that’s been invested in them whilst absorbing the message and meaning contained within each poignant line.

Proving that it is possible to deliver street-influenced, hardcore Hip-Hop without having to appeal to the lowest common denominator, with “Magna Carta” M9 has succeeded in his mission to elevate, stimulate and edutain, delivering one of 2012’s most essential albums in the process.

Ryan Proctor

Melanin 9 – “Organized Democracy” (Melanin9.Com / 2012)

New Joint – Melanin 9 / Roc Marciano

Melanin 9 ft. Roc Marciano – “White Russian” (M9Ether.BandCamp.Com / 2012)

Dope Anatomy-produced track from the talented London emcee’s forthcoming album “Magna Carta”.

New Joint – Melanin 9

Melanin 9 – “Landslide” (M9Ether.BandCamp.Com / 2012)

New Anatomy-produced single from the gifted London-based lyricist’s forthcoming album “Magna Carta”.

Magna Carta Album Sampler – Melanin 9

Talented UK emcee Melanin 9 will be dropping his new album “Magna Carta” later this year featuring appearances from Roc Marciano and Triple Darkness plus production from Jehst, Hey!zeus, Anatomy and more – preview this dope project here.

New Joint – M9

M9 – “Mont Blanc” (M9Ether.Bandcamp.Com / 2011)

New video for this Anatomy-produced track from the London lyricist’s 2010 mixtape “Orion’s Stencil”.

Album Review – Cyrus Malachi

Cyrus Malachi

“Ancient Future”

(No Cure Records)

As a fan of Hip-Hop today it’s often too easy to become disillusioned with the state of the music, as so-called ‘artists’ peddle a non-stop diet of sub-par mixtapes and heard-it-all-before freestyles to an audience who seem all too happy to download this background music, knowing that tomorrow they’ll be consigning it to their deleted files folder as if it never existed at all.

But every now and then, an album comes along that reaffirms your faith in Hip-Hop’s ability to truly transport the listener to another place, both mentally and emotionally, as an emcee finds themselves in a creative zone which allows them to fully explore the potential of their lyrical talent over sonic backdrops that appear perfectly crafted for the occasion.

“Ancient Future”, the debut solo album from London-based wordsmith Cyrus Malachi, is one of those moments.

Having already garnered attention for his lyrical prowess via work with three-man crew Triple Darkness and the equally talented spin-off collective Orphans Of Cush, those who thought they’d already heard the best the Hackney-raised Malachi had to offer will be in for a shock to the system upon listening to “Ancient Future”.

Still drawing equal inspiration from his immediate inner-city surroundings and historical / spiritual teachings, Malachi takes full advantage of the opportunity to spread his creative wings, diving rhyme first into ambitious concept-driven tracks as well as moments of deep, heartfelt personal reflection. Whilst the subject matter throughout “Ancient Future” is often dark and unsettling, confronting the demons of crime, violence and psychological torment that pull down so many of today’s youth, there’s an eloquence to Malachi’s vivid verses that bring a poetic beauty to even the most ugly of images.

As an individual who has experienced first-hand the pain and loss that can come from chasing street dreams, Cyrus rhymes from an authentic place, willing those currently in the position he once was to rise above the matrix of urban temptation and seek a better life for themselves through education, self-empowerment and mental nourishment.

Over the hynotic harps of “Native Son” the gruff emcee weaves together theology, historical fact and social observations, as he laments seeing “collonialism’s children shot crack in inner-city buildings, five generations after picking cotton for the pilgrims” in an unforgiving world where “slugs fly like iron canaries”.

On the melancholy Beat Butcha-produced “Black Madonna” Cyrus and Melanin 9 tackle the issue of young Black women feeling pressured to conform to an ideal of Western beauty in order to feel accepted, whilst the stripped-down “Brave New World” puts a Hip-Hop twist on the harsh society depicted in the 2006 film “Children Of Men”, with Malachi painting a genuinely chilling  picture of a perhaps not-so-distant future controlled by a single global government, where “freethinkers are labelled terrorists” and population control and military policing are common place.

The pounding “Slang Blades” is an all-out lyrical assault, with the Triple Darkness general going back-to-back with the mighty Kyza in a relentless display of microphone mastery over Beat Butcha’s persistent pianos. The bass-heavy banger “The Crucible” offers more heavyweight lyricism as Cyrus collaborates with like-minded UK rhyme fiends Iron Braydz and Moorish Delta’s Cipher Jewels, who each fire off typically sharp verbal darts.

Arguably the album’s most hard-hitting moment (and believe me, there are many) is the hypnotic Anatomy-produced “Black Maria”. Recounting his time spent in prison, Malachi resists the temptation to glamorise the experience like so many ‘hardcore’ rappers, instead choosing to let his guard down completely to pen an extremely emotional and graphic telling of events, from the moment he was sentenced in court to his release. Describing the paranoia, depression and tension that comes with time behind bars, Cyrus tells how during his first night in a cell “tears trickled down my cheek” and speaks on the soul-destroying frustration of hearing “freedom whistle in the wind”, knowing loved ones are going on with their lives in the outside world.

Appearances throughout the project from respected Stateside artists such as Ruste Juxx, Bronze Nazareth and the late Killa Sha do little to take the focus away from Malachi as the main attraction here, which is a testament to the no-nonsense emcee’s status as a formidable wordsmith on every level.

Clocking in at nineteen full-length tracks, “Ancient Future” is an album of epic proportions that needs to be listened to in its entirety to be fully appreciated. This isn’t the work of a rapper satisfied with simply throwing together a collection of unrelated tracks for the sake of being able to put something out for public consumption, “Ancient Future” is the product of a truly skilled emcee who is clearly passionate about rhyming as both an artform and as a means to influence, enlighten and uplift.

Ryan Proctor