Artist: Chief KamachiTitle: Cult StatusRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Bill Low-Key Heinzelman
If there is one thing the City of Brotherly love is known for in regards to Hip-Hop, its uncompromising street music. From the State Property crew, to Jedi Mind Tricks and Outerspace, Philly is a breeding ground for hardcore street music. Chief Kamachi is no different, as the gruff voiced emcee epitomizes that early 90’s boom bap feel. After paying his dues in the underground scene for years by appearing on various 12-inch singles, the The Army Of The Pharaohs member is finally ready to stand on his own with his debut album Cult Status. The album hits hard from beginning to end, as Kamachi sticks to his guns and fires off a variety of dark and powerful street anthems.
While Kamachi possesses raw intensity similar to M.O.P., he is able to combine his chilling street lyrics with a twist of insight and depth. The angelic sound of “Show Me Proof” is a prime example that finds Kamachi delivering his usual brand of fiery yet intelligent lyrics. “This is the song of a warrior that marched with grace, and they target me with pre-school archery. I’m too electrical, when I’m shining; let my aura fuck with your retinal”. Newcomers E. Dan and DJ Huggy provide most of the album’s production, which remains hard to the core at all times, even though they often rely on sped up vocal samples. “The Edge” is another angst-filled effort that finds Kamachi questioning whether he has “lost his mind”. From the death of his grandmother on his birthday to the imprisonment of his uncle, all of the pain and turmoil in Kamachi’s life has him standing on the proverbial “edge”.
Even though most of the songs on Cult Status are certified riot material, Kamachi does offer some variety to his verbal tantrums. “This Man” is a heartfelt dedication to those stuck in the system with no choice but to survive by hustling. S. Dot’s gorgeous vocal sample and piano keys provides the perfect aura for Kamachi to deliver one of his best tracks yet. Similarly, “Still Searching” is Kamachi’s most intimate track of his career, as the troubled emcee opens himself up and lets everyone inside his head. Over E. Dan and DJ Huggy’s heavenly beat, Kamachi admits to his soul being empty, feeling tricked by religion over the years. “I’m starting to think that the church is stealing my gravy. Is it so? Cause if it is, than me and you need to rap. Because I wasted all these years, and for you, fucking up a little child’s head like that”.
If hardcore street tales are what you desire, than Chief Kamachi’s Cult Status is for you. The album thrives off Kamachi’s intense emotion and raw lyrics, making Cult Status one of the true overlooked gems of the year.