Artist: Self ScientificTitle: ChangeRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Conan Milne
Self Scientific captured the attention of the underground hip hop conscious with their seminal debut Self Science. Since then, there have been some big transitions for the talented duo of Chace Infinite and DJ Khalil. The group has seen their profile rise through affiliation with Xzibit and his Strong Arm Steady clique, and via the formation of Angeles Records with Cypress Hills DJ Muggs. Its fitting then, that the collective would label their well anticipated sophomore set Change. This title is also relevant to the groups music, which has gone through a reinvention of sorts.
Its undeniable that Chace and Khalil have expanded their sound with this effort. On King Kong Chace trades verses with, of all people, Bun B. Over Khalils stuttering guitars and wailing sirens, Chace spews venom at the rapping clones he deems 50 Cent wannabes with a flow reminiscent of Jiggas, while Bun Bs appearance alone shows that Self Scientific arent afraid to embrace the mainstream. Surprisingly though, or maybe not, the UGK member sounds right at home over Khalils intense instrumental, delivering a suitably aggressive chorus.
While King Kong proves that the pair can deliver quality, accessible rap (well, relatively speaking anyway) 2 Step is a club orientated jam that sounds glaringly out of place. Chaces flow sounds comfortable enough, but lyrically hes on cruise control. After instructing his female accomplice to take leave with him, the MC follows up with just kidding – unless you was willing. Im not kidding. The groups desire to experiment with their sound is understandable, but it really sounds like both Chace and Khalil dumbed themselves down here.
Weight Of The World, meanwhile, is vintage Scientific and is to Change what The Covenant was to their first offering. Its epic. Chace sounds somber on the cut, frustrated by the many problems of modern life and rapping that things dont seem right, before adding, How many things in life is? His downbeat rhymes are the perfect partner to Khalils haunting strings and scratches.
Rest assured that the intelligent commentary of The Self Science is still there (check out Chaces barbed rhymes on domestic violence on the brutally honest single Live N Breathe) while Khalil has added more variation to his already impressive production. Despite differences with their first record and filler in places, the duo has successfully convinced this skeptic that change can be a good thing.