[a]Rahzel[/a] is a man truly in love with the sound of his own voice. But for once, that's no bad thing...
[a]Rahzel[/a] is a man truly in love with the sound of his own voice. But for once, that’s no bad thing, since this human beatbox maestro has a larynx that’ll outdo any skilled turntablist. More than just a mic trickster, [a]Rahzel[/a] imitates beats and FX so well it’s hard to tell which is man or machine. On ‘Wu-Tang Live’, he does ‘Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta Fuck Wit’, kung-fu noises and all, while on his reinterpretation of Aaliyah‘s ‘If Your Girl Only Knew’ he plays the beat and the chorus [I]at the same time[/I].
While that track has to be heard to be believed, it would count for nothing if the rest of the album failed to scale the heights of [a]Rahzel[/a]’s work with The Roots. As if to cover his ass somewhat, he’s enlisted the help of a troupe of rap celeb mates, including Slick Rick, Q-Tip and Pete Rock. It makes for a frustratingly inconsistent album, as [a]Rahzel[/a] swaps the organic Jurassic 5-style funk of ‘All I Know’ for the sickly R&B of ‘Suga Sista’, and never really makes either his own.
His vocal gimmicks never intrude, and even when he’s doing funny voices (‘Night Riders’) there’s a certain old-school charm to his contributions. In fact, there are a lot of funny voices on this record, and maybe that’s the problem: [a]Rahzel[/a] needs to find one that’s uniquely his.