Evil Tha Illest is hip-hop artist from San Jose, CA. He has released 3 solo albums, including the latest “The Rebellion”. This is one of those artists that you either love or hate. He goes in hard with an abrasive, an aggressive attitude and gut-felt messages. His unique brand of horrorcore-styled hip-hop with hard-hitting lyrics will obviously prove controversial to the trap and mumble rap pussies. “The Rebellion” is an album that attempts to bring in a whole new audience while still maintaining Evil Tha Illest’s existing fans, keeping his bizarre lyrical style with a wide variety of crunching beats that move from spacey electronic sounds to dirty guitar riffs. This recording is a step up from both of Evil Tha Illest’s previous albums, effectively pushing his new musical ideas that complement the twisted barking raps of the Cali native. An original album that provides for an effective deviation for listeners who are tired of hearing the same-old commercial hip-hop and hooks, and who wish to hear something thought provoking, unapologetic and envelope pushing.
If went back to the late nineties, you’d probably find a handful of bold and boisterous groups who were turning out this kind of Adrenalin-pumping music. What this translates to is a record not for the fainthearted, so indie kids and pop-rap fans need not apply as made clear with tracks names such as ‘Poison in the Well’, ‘Savages’ and ‘Evil in Chains’, although the track names are nothing compared to the power of the content.
For a few different reasons, Evil Tha Illest’s can regarded as an artist who turns modern rap inside out. His rhymes are different. He tends to favor gruesome over groove some. And his music has an uncommon depth, feeling personal rather than simply functional.
All of this makes Evil Tha Illest an artist who doesn’t need to move forward so much as explore the wide spaces around him. There’s a sort of circular logic at play here, with heavy basslines and various percussion instruments cascading across the bars. For better or worse, depending on your view of the artist, “The Rebellion”, is an album that few other current performers would have the nerve to produce today.
Right from the hazy opening track, “Ego Killer”, it’s easy to recognize that there is something different, something special going on here. Then when the dark booming bass and playful keys set in on “Broken”, only to be overwhelmingly crushed by the loud overdriven electric guitars, your suspicions are confirmed.
“Baxwar Cypher” is deep, delirious, and a genial lyrical torment all at once. Originality and creativity are things that are often overlooked in music, especially if certain artists do not record on major record labels. That’s something that shouldn’t happen here, as Evil Tha Illest shoves originality and creativity down your throat at every turn.
“Outlaw” opens in an effectively chilling manner, before Evil Tha Illest grabs hold of the bars with a harsh and guttural flow. “Poison in the Well” is another track that bangs hard with its head nodding beat and background horns. “Savages” is another one of the album’s highlights. It’s a heavy, dense track full of raw, deranged flows, and an infectious pulse-pounding beat.
“Evil in Chains” introduces the use of melodic samples and jangling guitars using the Alice in Chains track “Rooster” as its foundation. Once again Evil Tha Illest does not let up on the flow, maintaining his verses at an intense level on top of the beat.
“Rebellion” is anything but simple, with a smooth, driving, drum-heavy beat and fluctuating guitar lines that ties together some of the best conscious lyrics on the entire album. This might just be the strongest, most accessible track on the album.
The overall impression of this album is great. “The Rebellion” has its fair share of great verses and beats that mesh flawlessly with the overall flow. This is essential listening for any fans of alternative hip-hop.