This is the review of Zombie Skool from Shinobi Stalin in Insomniac Magazine, as written by C73.
SHINOBI STALIN- ZOMBIE SCHOOL
By combining the elements of Jazz, Soul, Punk aesthetics, and traditional Hip Hop, Shinobi Stalin’s debut full-length shines forth with a lyrical prowess that many would agree is missing in today’s hip hop shuffle. In other words, the music (lyrically and production-wise) takes on a style of its own. “Zombie School” strikes a balance between light and dark, happiness and misery, content and discontent. Built around a wide array of samples, the album is aesthetically based in mid-90s hip hop production without falling to the boredom that comes with most “throw back” rap music. Shunning the clichés that have become staples of hip hop music, Shinobi tackles concepts including ethnicity (Y.G.B. & My Life In Life) , corrupt gun laws (Gunz) and his own mortality to name a few.
The production throughout the album is excellent, with everyone handing in some of his best work. Juniali impresses on “Y.G.B., SNM (SK8) & Us Them”; K Delight & DJ Solo on all their cuts on the tracks “Prophet” and “Gunz”, Tony Blare, Vision Quest, Domingo and Reeplay on the ones they do, while Am I Am wouldn’t let his partner down, with his lyrical prowess and beat fitting the mood of SS perfectly on the track “Hustle and Flow”. And Shinobi himself even finds the time to do some production on the rest. With “Zombie School” you get no frills, no fronts and no fake shit.
Shinobi is in your face with the realness of a true hip hop artist that has paid his dues and put in his work to get where he is today. He’s got a holier than thou’ rhyme style, neck breaking beats, and a continued sarcastic undertone, all of that wrapping this up in a distilled micro style of what Central Florida has to offer. What could also explain the affiliation with many artists; check the sick posse cut “SG1″ with Vets of Kin. The beats are incredible and the variety in content allows the listener to enjoy the album through and through. Great beats are one thing, but he really rides them well with a fine tuned flow.
The album accomplishes to combine several styles, from the straight up bragging and boasting with a strong straightforward undertone, to the surprisingly open reciting of content that comes straight from the heart. You never get the sense that this LP is forced or put on. So to finally receive a product from a relatively unknown artist not only provides hope that good music still exists but that some artists actually understand that a first impression is important to a listener. SS truly is comparable to many of the more heralded underground artists of today. Since this is just the beginning, I am anxiously awaiting to see what is yet to come from a young, gifted and brown individual in Shinobi Stalin.
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