Black Candles

Artist: Chief Kamachi & The Juju MobTitle: Black CandlesRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Jay Peregine

With dissension prevalent amongst the rank and file of many rap factions, it’s encouraging when four emcees make U.N.I.T.Y. look easy. Collectively, Chief Kamachi and the JuJu mob form the self-proclaimed “4 Headed Monster” on the enchantingly rancorous Black Candles (Eastern Conference/Good Hands). A follow up to last year’s solo effort from Chief Kamachi, Cult Status.

The distinct personas of rappers Kamachi, Reef the Lost Cauze, State Store and producer Charon Don shine as they demonstrate organic song making ability and stellar craftsmanship. The Chieftan, Kamachi, who has been known to guest lecture at Temple University in his hometown, conveys his disdain for the current state of Hip-hop on the impressive “THIS” when he lobs the line, “Didn’t mention MC’s…Cause there’s nothing there/Rapper that hates Hip-hop…now that’s something rare” over a subtle drumbeat and a scary piano loop that sounds like a merry-go-round ride gone excitingly awry. The jewel of this song however is the chorus by State Store who struts his gruff, soulful stuff all over the hook. On another standout, “Radio”, Kamachi is paired with a fellow Illadelphian Reef, who currently holds more freestyle championship belts than Zab Judah. The two compare notes about their trials with commercial radio as Reef leaves his imprint on this song with lines like, “The energy your ancestors I channel that/ so whoever number one we on your heels like sandal straps.“. Never to be overlooked, the Pittsburgh mic representer puts it down on the memorable “Never Walk Alone” when he gives a high definition account of himself taking retaliation for his partner’s shooting into his own hands.

The production, by E. Dan and DJ Huggy make exceptional use of various percussion, keys, chords, blends and scratches to create an engaging album from start to finish. The creative snippets between songs reveal some of their persona while keeping listeners interested.

Very skilled lyrically and metaphorically, one of the drawbacks could be the range of subject matter which tends to lean a little heavy on the group’s gift for punchlines, the spirit world and their uncanny ability to smack, snatch, poke or pop something. Altogether, this crew put in a solid effort of hard work and life experience into this project which will satisfy the appetites of their ever growing legion of fans. As long as they can maintain their cohesiveness, Chief Kamachi and the JuJu Mob’s Black Candles will stay lit for quite some time.

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