February 18, 2020

Arsonists - Date of Birth (2001)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
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© 2001 Matador
AllMusic Review by M.F. DiBella
On the sophomore release from this Brooklyn underground trio (surfacing here as Jise, Q-Unique, and Swel 79), the Arsonists continue to swim away from the mainstream, not in a calculated manner as some backpackers do to try to make a name, but because for these self-proclaimed hip-hop pyromaniacs, this is the only way to make their music. As a result, many hip-hop luminaries have taken notice, including the legendary Chuck D, who at one time quipped: "When you see a group like the Arsonists out there, they're better than what any major label has got." Living by KRS-One's immortal credo -- "Rap is something you do, hip-hop is something you live" -- the Arsonists set fire to many a microphone and drum machine on Date of Birth. Again sticking to their largely in-house production protocol (though the Beatnuts' Psycho Les drops a burner on "Self Righteous Spics"), flaming arrows are fired on the rollicking "Space Junk" and the classical piano-infused "Alive." But these are mere warm-up acts for two of the more memorable underground tracks in recent memory: the hilariously sharp "Millionaire," a slick, hip-hop parody of Regis Philbin's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire game show, and "Language Arts," a blazing combination of kabuki theater strings and Akira Kurosawa film aesthetic. While the album lapses occasionally with a couple of patches of redundant production, Date of Birth is a strong follow-up from a crew who keep it real by nature.

tags: arsonists, date of birth, 2001, flac,

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