Legendary battle-ready Ohio MC Copywrite and legendary Fresno rapper Planet Asia join forces for this surprise release ‘Unfinished & Untitled’. The tight-knit eleven track LP is a brilliant example of the quality hip-hop on offer if you take a minute to look below the surface level tripe that is pushed on commercial radio, and these two artists have been grinding independently for years, each gaining their respective dedicated followings. Their dexterity and penmanship means that this collaboration was a match made in heaven, and the project is a blatant testament to that fact.
Following a witty intro (using an interview of how Copy and Asia first met; apparently it was while collecting food stamps), the project gets underway with ‘Big Business’. The simplistic instrumental backs the two authoritative voices as they lace the beat with intricate verses, and the complexity of the two underground stalwart’s writing is instantly evident. ‘Our Everyday’ follows, and the hard-hitting, abrasive synthesizers and guaranteed head-banging kicks snap consistently as the dynamic duo recruit Los Angeles lyricist TriState, who delivers a characteristically tough sixteen. The raw and undisputably banging ‘Up All Night’ is a surefire standout; Asia’s blend of cockiness and substantial content makes him one of the most impressive and criminally under-rated MC’s of all time, and Copywrite’s ability to write battle-ready punchlines with a sharp flow is the stuff of hip-hop legend.
The textured, glitchy ‘Ode To Chuck Berry’ is an angsty, in-your-face cut that showcases the dexterity and eclecticism of the lyricists on display here, and as the ‘Unfinished & Untitled’ project progresses, every track brings another angle and sonic direction. This is more than your cliched, traditional hip-hop; just because the wordsmiths are skilful and talented, the music and attitude is fresh and engaging. Wu-Tang veteran U-God accompanies on the anthemic, soulful cut ‘Crocodile Smile’; the classy horns and intricate percussion makes for a rousing tune with charismatic deliveries and solid, sophisticated flows from the three experienced spitters.
The high caliber of guests continues with the dusty, old-school vibes of ‘The Cypher Of Agartha’, which features renowned South Bronx virtuoso Canibus, who has set the precedent for complexity and layered writing. The diverse selection of vocalists on here makes for a truly exhilerating listen. Underground LA MC and frequent Copywrite collaborator Ill Burns Green appears on the rousing and creatively titled ‘Volume Dial Goes To 11’ before the LP closes out on the energetic ‘End From Scratch/Maggot Brain’.
There’s not much more that needs to be said. If you’re a self-respecting hip-hop fan and you’re unfamiliar with these guys, go and slap yourself in the face and do some research; it’s far more important than most seem to realise these days. If these two insanely talented lyricists are already on your radar, as they should be, then you already know what to expect. ‘Unfinished & Untitled’ delivers on all fronts. The production is relentless and varied, and the bars are top quality throughout the concisely executed album. Stop wasting your time and get this thing downloaded.
By Sam Bennett