With the release of 2 prelude EPs earlier this year, the horribly underrated Kentucky based hip hop trio CunninLynguists are coming together with their 6th full-length album. The opener “Red, White & Blues” sees MCs Deacon the Villain & Natti saying that they still think the US is alive despite all that’s going on right now over an instrumental from Kno that contains a killer guitar & some boom bap drums. The next track “Riot!” speaks on just that & while the hook is just average, the beat kinda has this churchy vibe that fits well with the descriptive lyrics. The song “Red Bird” talks about spirituality over a smooth instrumental & the sample hook is just as beautiful. The track “Violet (The Upper Room)” has a religious tone lyrically but this time, they’re talking about it over some jazzy keys & the way it’s structure it like a funeral was very creative.
The song “Gone” speaks on the evicted over a soulful boom bap beat à la 9th Wonder & the Trizz hook enhances the somber tone of it perfectly. The track “Any Way the Wind Blows” vividly tells the story of this woman who eventually commits suicide over a lush yet dreary instrumental & I absolutely love the sample that was used during the hook. The next 2 songs “Mr. Morganfield & Ms. Waters (Side A)” and “Jimi & Andre (B-Side)” really could’ve been been a single 8 minute song to me, mainly because the structuring of both individual tracks from the songwriting to the way the beat changes after each verse are very well incorporated. The track “Hustlers” intelligently talks about this woman who gets everyone floored over a smooth guitar loop & the hook fits in with the verses like a glove. The song “Oh Honey” is a creatively written love tune & while the drums are explosive as Hell, the overall vibe it gives off is just right. Lyrically, the penultimate track “No Universe Without Harmony” gets back to the topic of consciousness & the instrumental is pretty wavy yet gloomy. The album closes out with “Earth to Venus (Tiny Orange Star)”, where Deacon & Natti talking to their lovers with some spirituality references & the instrumental is just absolutely beautiful.
While I do recall Kno tweeting last November telling us to expect the CunninLynguists to bring back the Dirty Acres era, I don’t really think they disappointed. Matter of fact, I think the trio surpassed Joey Bada$$’ latest album All AmeriKKKan-BadA$$ (which I also reviewed very positively) for the most conscious hip hop release of the year. Primarily because I find the lyricism is a lot more intelligent & Kno’s production continues to get a lot more beautiful over time