Artist: AgallahTitle: You Already KnowRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Kathy Iandoli
Fans of Purple City's Agallah will be pleasantly surprised by his long awaited release You Already Know (Babygrande). The Brooklyn native crafts an LP that combines the basic elements of the grimy NY underground mixed with the essentials of a commercially viable Hip-Hop record. Agallah's
lyrical ability to ride any beat undoubtedly comes from his decade-long history in the rap game.
Starting like most of his peers, the Don Bishop was a battleground king getting his weight up through circuits like E.O.W, attracting
prominent figures in the industry. After brief stints on Tommy Boy and Elektra, Agallah helped birth the Purple City crew and found a home at Babygrande Records. While his mixtape Propane Piff pacified most fans of the live show legend, all breaths were held for You Already Know.
Perhaps the most intriguing thing about Agallah and his record is the crazy respect his comrades in New York's Hip-Hop scene have for him. Agallah isn't afraid to let the world know either, as an interlude on You Already Know is a drop from Prodigy of Mobb Deep professing his pride for the soldier. Agallah's self-production only comes second to the gifted hands of DJ Premier and Alchemist. Cameos by both members of dead prez seem like unlikely fits for the MC who carries braggin' rites on his back, but he manages to make it happen.
Tracks like "Ride Out (O.G.G.G.)" and "On the Ave" have strong Dipset undertones, and understandably so due to Ag's extended family ties. "Hardcore" is laden with machismo brags like, I'm hardcore, I'm hard like a criminal/Straight to the point, I ain't gotta be subliminal/I'm the maximum, y'all dudes is minimal, while "Club Hoppin'" was ready
for radio yesterday.
An unfortunate tone of the record is the
frequency of money, muscles, and power, since it's obvious that Agallah has more potential than that. "New York Ryder Music" is an average track saved by the guitar-licked samples of Preemo's production. "Right Now!" takes Agallah's proclamation of all-city domination, complete with a co-sign of Kool G Rap. "Losing My Mind" featuring Carl Anthony is a journey into the life and struggles that Agallah faced up until this moment. A dedication to his mom provides another
glimpse into the pain that this MC has endured throughout his life.
Agallah is a diamond in the rough. If you didn't already know, you will now.