Artist: Blue Sky Black Death Presents…Title: The HolocaustRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Omar Hamza
It has been eight years since The Holocaust made his name known as RZA’s accomplice on the first video bearing his namesake from the Bobby Digital album. After a couple of impressive performances on Killarmy’s sophomore disc, he was Wu-Tang’s first round draft pick to continue the Shaolin legacy into the new millennium. That seems like ages ago now. Since then, Wu-Tang has had a highly publicized fall from the limelight and even established stars such as Method Man have had a hard time regaining the spotlight. Enter Blue Sky Black Death (BSBD), a production duo who have been making their chops crafting layered sounds for some of the underground’s elite. They have recruited Holocaust to star in their first full album effort Blue Sky Black Death Presents the Holocaust (Babygrande) with limited success.
Blue Sky Black Deaths production spans the gamut from sounding like an audio background from a science fiction movie to the score of a really intense action flick. The West Coast duo provides an impressive aural backdrop to an extremely visual lyricist. “Plunder” opens up with sampled wailing over timely piano stabs that Holocaust rides smoothly while bluntly proclaiming, “The West Coast is claimed.” Even though such a claim is usually reserved for The Game or Snoop, listeners are lead to believe there is infinite potential in this collaboration with Holocaust’s descriptive writing style and BSBD’s eerie production. That theory comes to a quick halt on “We All Are Well Known”, where Holocaust obviously cannot keep up with the track’s rolling drums and swift moving wind instruments.
This turns into a recurring theme on the record as The Holocaust seems to be trying to fit too many words in too little space. Save for “Lady of the Birds” which plays out more like an interlude than a song and “The Moth”, he rhymes too quickly for the tracks. This gives the listeners the tedious task of trying to concentrate too much on what is being said instead of vibing to BSBD’s richly textured beats. It seems like the long hiatus from the mic has Holocaust trying to make up for lost time by using metaphors and analogies so extended that it would make Kool Keith blush. An album that seemed like a good experiment quickly turns into an Anti-Pop Consortium record with better beats and an emcee with a more compelling voice.