The collaboration between New York City’s microphone fiend C-Rayz Walz and D.C.’s manic producer Sharkey is nothing if not surreal. From the first track to the last you are taken on a journey of self-awareness that few, save the faithful fans of each, have ever traversed. While C-Rayz continues to dazzle with his intricate and oft-times hilarious wordplay, his rhyme schemes and subjects are challenged and manipulated by Sharkey’s quarky, yet danceably energetic soundscapes. This pairing should not be confused with Gnarls Barkley, but the record is on par as far as originality and quality go, and if you liked GB, you’ll likewise be entranced by this work as well.
The pop sensibilities of the opening track “Birth of Ratto Di Laboratorio” might be what resulted from a meeting of Canadian music genius K-os and the Undergrounds’ fiendishly clever Dr. Octagon. It lets you know that this is not the traditional C-Rayz record, by grabbing your ass and tugging it towards the dance floor. “Jumping Off At The Jump Off” continues the dance vibe, replete with female vocals and offering Walz a decidedly different forum for his immense skills to flex. This track may not be traditional dancehall, but it wouldn’t be out of place at a juke joint with heavily oiled Jamaican girls writhing with pleasure.
On “Pain To The Picture,” uniquely Walz punchlines like “Don’t be a bird-brain/ And think that you’re fly…” are prevalent throughout. While “Electric Avenue,” which takes its name and movement from the original hit song by Eddy Grant, Walz is able to parlay some social commentary that sounds refreshingly dated. Don’t get it twisted, this one will have you nodding along and paying attention at the same time!
With “We Speak Animal,” a classic hip hop break, re-imagined for the Trance era, has C-Rayz dropping his usual gems. While the bouncy synthpop of “Forgotten” shows the extent to which these two mad scientists are willing to travel, all for your enjoyment.
So it’s not your uncle Charlie’s C-Rayz; that’s the point. Take a listen, you won’t be disappointed.