Super Chron Flight Brothers: Emergency Powers-The World Tour

Don’t let the stoned sprawl fool you.  As serious as a heart attack, Emergency Powers: The World Tour (Backwoodz) faces gentrification, the drug war, and terrorism; all in dope, bud-fueled streams of consciousness.  Priviledge and Billy Woods are funny—“You’re like Dexter Manley in English class, straight dunce,” and they are high—“I’d rather blaze till I touch Mars”—but they share the reading habits of The Wire’s Brother Mouzon, thumbing through Atlantic Monthly or New Republic while waiting to execute a hit.  They’re also relentlessly pro-black.  But you have to listen.        “Drought” is the most plausible drug dealer narrative since Ice Cube’s “My Summer Vacation,” a story devoid of bravado and slowly revealed in detailed complexity. “First Blood” is a first person imagining of the Palestinian infantada, reminiscent of Immortal Technique’s “Peruvian Cocaine.”  However, these emcees are not on a soapbox.  They spit out the information they take in, pop culture and war, rap, beats, and film, all rolled into an exponential Paul’s Boutique.  Though not as genre defining as Paul, this disc is alive and sample heavy, the lyrics as much snippets of thought as the tracks are pieces from diverse, original sources. On “Rent Control,” they spit, “When the crackers get you, it’s not a rap song.”  For such blazed individuals, Priviledge and Woods are down for reality and concerned with everyday struggle.  This disc is rooted in Public Enemy; sonically in terms of dense collage and thematically in terms of addressing real power differentials in society.  However, it’s sort of like Devin the Dude and Redman’s version of Public Enemy, and Super Chron don’t approach Chuck and company (of course not!).  But they keep P.E.’s influence alive in their own way.Their 2007 companion is I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, which also paints a full color world of pulled-pin hand grenades.   Emergency Powers: The World Tour reflects its place and time, a contradictory age of scary uncertainty and information overload.  So much Hip-Hop pretends otherwise.  El-P knows it and Super Chron know it.  Thus they give us daring graffiti—all you see is crime in the city—and like all daring work, the act is solace unto itself.  And like all worthwhile Hip-Hop, the skills back up the sentiment.

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