Necro - The Pre-Fix For Death  
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by Diablo   
Once upon a time, in a “Kristyles” recording session some 2 years ago, KRS-One asked the question “What does it mean to be underground?” While nowhere on this sprawling 25 track album does Brooklynite Necro attempt to answer the question directly, the pedigree with which his career has been established certainly fulfills many of the ideal qualifications for an underground artist. For instance, he’s been on the radio route, and made himself famous via one of the most respected underground outlets, in the NYC’s own Stretch and Bobbito Radio Show. From all over the world, his ever-growing line of “Necro” merchandise (from t-shirts to self-produced movies) is getting orders from numerous retailers. The biggest factor in his underground status is his heavy Internet following, and also his very informative web page. It even covers the string of hits he’s had on the college radio circuit, in addition to his very extensive history as a producer. While the site itself does a bang-up job of covering all things Necro, it should be noted that Necro produced 7 tracks on Non-Phixion’s 2002 breakthrough epic, “The Future Is Now.” Perhaps that fact alone would merit his notoriety, considering that it was one of the most widely acclaimed underground releases we’ve seen in the new millennium. As the readers here can attest to, in the information age we’ve nuanced into, there’s nothing like a strong World Wide Web based following. Necro has a clear idea of this, and it has long been the wave of the future, and no pun intended, “The Future Is Now.” Before the detraction ensues, the purpose of this piece is to lay some insight into Necro’s “The Pre-Fix for Death.”

The album begins with a snippet of interview done with a prison inmate (or a former from the sound of it) discussing the death penalty and his issues with the Supreme Court’s authority in such cases. More portions of the commentary appear through the album and definitely give the album cohesiveness outside of the songs. After the first snippet, in comes the macabre and menacing piano loop of “Beautiful Music For You to Die to.” It’s quite the beautiful music being played, and Necro runs his jewels on the concept of his musical and lyrical stylings. The hook is a simple one, but again, it introduces the concept of Necro’s work, and a vocal sample uttering the words “Beautiful music” wails in the background. Following the “Beautiful” track, out comes another snippet from the aforementioned interview, which ebbs into “The Dispensation of Life and Death,” whose title comes from a comment the inmate makes in the prior snippet. The second music track features a very archaic beat, and is best described as a looping of a score from an old horror movie. In his style of rhyme, Necro is best compared to Vinnie Paz of the group Jedi Mind Tricks (particularly on his solo effort in the JMT “Visions of Gandhi” album), as he bears the quicksilver flow and gruff presence of a battle MC. His production has a dark feel to it, and has the basement, underground sound that can’t be imitated, as he makes it so much his own by being such an established beatmaker. Furthermore, the production style of the darker songs follows a very cinematic mood, much like Steve Stoupe’s work on the Babygrande Records label (Canibus, JMT). “Kill That Shit” follows the suit of “Dispensation…..,” as he lets forth a death-rap heavy barrage of lyrics against any competition. Whether or not the effect is intended to be humorous, the brief ode to Necro being wailed by the female vocalist in the “Pre-Fix” skit certainly lightens things up in the session.

The title track has implements a hard rock feel which truly makes the album distinguishable. Backed by Away, a member of the group Vovoid, it has the rough edge provided by the lively guitars. This track is one of the ones that puts Necro moreso in a class with Ice-T and Mos Def, as their respective groups Body Count and Black Jack Johnson shows an emphasis in the music as far as being experimental with live rock instrumentation. “Push It To The Limit,” the following track, stands out moreso for showing Necro’s production versatility. The song combines a mariachi-style beat (very similar to Steve Stoupe’s work on JMT’s “Visions of Gandhi”), a vocal sample of an opera singer, and the raw vocals of Jamey Jasta from the band Hatebreed. “Reflection Of Children Coming Up In the Grave” borrows its title from a vocal sample (a trend of Necro’s on this album), and Necro reflects on the days of his childhood gone by. He even mentions his early days with Ill Bill, and it’s a tranquil reminiscing track. Adding to the sheer eclecticness of the album is a snippet from the movie “The Silence of the Lambs,” with the infamous “lotion in the basket” capture scene. Sean Martin, John Tardy, and Dan Liken add a Cannibal Corpse-ish slant to the following track, “Insaneology,” and it could easily be heard on a hard rock/metal station outside of the rap lyrics from Necro. He’s pushing his musical boundaries, and it’s a very comfortable role for him over the screeching bass guitars, perhaps due to his having played one in his youth.

Track 11 is aptly titled “Nirvana,” as that’s the best description for a reunion with Necro, Ill Bill, Goretex and Mr. Hyde, bringing forth some of the renown glory of Non-Phixion. Over a simple loop (which sounds like a sample from an epic-style film), the four MCs rip the ironically short song to shreds, not even at 4 minutes. Over the drums and piano tinkles, Necro gets his lively mack on, spitting “86 Measures of Game,” and he doesn’t hold back for the sake of any female listeners. It’s quite randy, and the pimp concept is nothing new, but it certainly gives the album a detour from the oft-discussed horrorcore. “Empowered” is another rock gem, and has the assist of #0 of Slipknot (probably the most high profile of the rock guests, and his grunting wail on the hook is unmistakable) and the turntable onslaught of DJ Starscream, who uses a radio frequency switch sound and an old Necro vocal. “Kid Joe” is a skit in the flavor of the “Pre-Fix” skit, but Joe is a rhymer repping Brooklyn. Again, it gives a good break in what is a very long album, because Joe’s verses (and composure---or lack of it) are very amusing, to say the least. Over an eerie beat, Necro waxes cannibalistic as a documentary snippet about cannibalism gives way to the track “Human Consumption,” and one of the standout things about the track is the choice of well known samples from hip-hoppers. There’s a sequence of very aptly chosen Big Pun and Big L vocal samples over the hook. “Evil Shit” captures a circus like melody, setting off with an organ instrumental, which is accompanied a soft piano play. The melody itself is very subtle, and entrancing to no end The arresting charm of the song, perhaps making it the best piece from the album, is found in the balance between the dark, moody graphic lyrics and wordplay being emitted from the Hellmouth that is Necro’s vocal chords, and the light, somber tune in the background. There is also a wah-wah effect and what sounds like a voice box altered speech which add to the unique contrast in the composition, grabbing the listener.

A contemporary popular classic, Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” makes its way in the brief intro to “You Did It,” where Necro deftly repeats and fades out on the “heavy metal suicide” line, and adds a gunshot to it (and the hook). The song has a warped beat, with the sound of a muffled French horn combined with artificial bleeps and blips. After the death threats, creative as he’s made through up to this point, Necro’s theme of his prey committing a suicide is actually a fresh angle for the “Pre-Fix…” project. Next, the “Rogue” Skit features another part from “Silence of the Lambs,” this time a conversation between Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster’s characters. “Death Rap” has two samples in succession of what sounds like a xylophone and an electric guitar, as Necro asserts his stance on his brand of rap by likening it to a movement. “Watch Your Back” treads into the rock territory as it’s backed by a fierce guitar riff, and moreso, his well paused, multi-syllabic brings to my mind Kool G. Rap, and to be song-minded, Eminem in his song “Infinite.” Triumphant horns are prevalent over a woodwind-style instrument loop, as Necro makes with clever food metaphors and wordplay in “Food For Thought,” a la LL Cool J in “Milky Cereal.” A snippet from what sounds like a Time-Life documentary or a “Faces of Death” video compiles the “Important Statistics” track, discussing the homicide rate in the U.S. versus the entire world. The female vocalist from the “Pre-Fix” skit, Jenny Cassabian, returns for an off-key serenade his goriness at the beginning of “Senseless Violence.” She also appears on the hook, wailing way, as Necro rips the cut between her chants. The beat sounds like a score from a 1980’s sci-fi movie, interestingly enough. The NYHC mix of “Push It To The Limit” features more of a straight metal sound, and could pass for a metal record in its redone form. Finally, the “Outro” features the interviewee from the beginning, speaking on how his homicidal tendencies haven’t left his innate desires. Considering the bloodbath that Necro has left throughout this sprawling album, it’s a no-brainer as to why that snippet was picked as a closer.

With a track record that includes production of 10 albums in one year, Necro is no stranger to burning the midnight oil. The length of this project is very much a testament to his admirable work ethic. For the hardcore fans of Necro who can veer into the territory of heavy metal crossbreeding, the collaborations and rap/rock fusions are a sheer delight. While adeptly chosen skits of both humorous and informative intent are spliced throughout the cd, the 25 tracks, and a whopping 71 minutes of listening time may very well intimidate listeners new to Necro’s body of work. While one of the best draws of the album is the enthusiasm of its creator, to experiment with his production style in successful rap/metal jam sessions, it may not be the best way for a new listener to break into his catalogue, unless musically open-minded enough. The collaborations with the metal artists(and sonic ambience) gives Necro’s production an alternative perspective, that results in a raw sound, a sound with a sheer edginess is on par with that which is found in the dark, graphic death rap lyrics. The unique slant in the musical atmosphere only serves to make his straight hip-hop production that much more superb in its shining qualities (great vocal sample usages, beat patterns, instrumental samples, etc). The shock value in his horrorcore, pioneering “Death Rap”, could be looked at by detractors as a gimmick for unadulterated attention, were it not for a certain aspect of Necro. Said aspect is that Necro is a very able-bodied (or rhymed) MC. While his longevity as an underground producer is notable (visiting the official webpage is highly recommended), Necro himself is quite the rhymer, and at times he captures the skills that we, the audience, tend to notice moreso in the heralded performances of mainstream artists (i.e. Kool G. Rap and Eminem). By inspired enthusiasm for music as a whole, pure MC skills, creativity beyond his main concept (Death Rap, and most importantly, the songs whose ideas gravititate outside of it to give the album layers of topics) deft production techniques, and an ability to work outside of his genre, Necro wildly succeeds at making his audience curious (this writer included) to learn of the confidence and experience with which he offers the meaning behind “The Pre-Fix For Death.”









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