Canibus - Mic Club      
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written by Low Key    
"I pulverize MC's and blow up mics. From street corner ciphers to international web sites. I'll run up on you and set it for no reason. My flows are like body blows that cause internal bleeding. Cause I'm the badest motherfucker, above average. With alien deoxyribonucleic acid. A blood spore, with metaphors of all sorts. So fly I need a pass port just to walk" Canibus on Uni-4-orm

Most Hip-Hop fans can remember the fist time they heard Canibus. For most it was on the Rhyme & Reason soundtrack where this unknown emcee came in and straight ripped the mic to shreds, outshining all others on the track including Ras Kass & Heltah Skeltah. Reactions across the Hip-Hop community where the same, who is this guy? Well the Hip-Hop world soon found out as Canibus continued to display some of the best lyricism in years. His guest appearances on "Beats From The East", "Desperados", "4,3,2,1" and "Making A Name For Ourselves" had critics and fans everywhere comparing Bis to early shades of Nasir Jones and even the god Rakim himself. However, the story from here on out is well known and documented, as Canibus never fully lived up to the hype set upon him. His legendary battle with LL Cool J won over the hearts of fans everywhere, however his debut album "Can-I-Bus" was a huge disappointment as the production side of the album never fully gelled with Bis's superior rhyme structure and lyricism. However, Bis did rebound nicely with the overlooked "2000 B.C.". With much improved production this time around, Canibus finally delivered the album most thought he would. However, what would transpire next would be even too shocking in a Shakespearean novel, as the tragic figure Canibus truly self-destructed.

"C: True Hollywood Stories" was this tragedy, however such a word may not describe the effects of this album. Simply put, the album was one of the worst ever released in the history of Hip-Hop and completely shattered Canibus's career. Fans were outraged and critics were befuddled. Nobody knew the reason for such an album and such a change. Many tried to cover up for Bis and proclaim the album was put out to mock the industry that has rejected Bis since his debut failure. Nevertheless, the album turned almost everyone away from Bis, shattering all hopes of dominance and portraying one of the biggest rise and falls in the history of Hip Hop. So close to becoming one of the greatest, now Canibus was the laughing stock of the industry.

One year later Canibus returns, almost out of the blue, with this fourth studio release entitled "Mic Club". Most did not know what to expect out of Bis with his release. Could Canibus rebound from one of the biggest disasters in Hip-Hop history? Could Bis bring back those energy filled verses of complex lyricism and vicious battle rhymes one more time? Or even more important, could Bis put out another good album? Well the answers to all those questions have been answered with a resounding yes. "Mic Club" does see the return of Canibus in full lyrical form, however the other aspects of the album still have not fallen into place.

Most importantly, Lyrically Canibus is back to being himself. No more corny, drawn out tales of Stan, no more gimmicky rhymes and songs, just lyrics. After listening to "Mic Club" it seems as if Bis locked himself in a room with his dictionary and went to work for months. With lyricism beyond the term of extraordinary, Canibus straight rips every track on the album. With the best vocabulary of an emcee in the industry, Canibus puts out some really complex and well structure rhymes for "Mic Club". Bis probably tour up several dictionaries with this album as his lyricism and vocabulary tend to be mind-blowing. Tracks such as "Poet Laureate", "Cenior Studies" and "Curriculum 101" are all lyrical feasts. "Allied Metal Forces" is one of the finer tracks on the album s Bis pares up with the legendary Kool G Rap, who rips the track with his 50+ bar lyrical exercise that even outshines Bis. The production for most of the tracks on the album is solid, a huge improvement from his last album, but still isn't of the highest quality. While not bad, the production is still above average but not even close to the production seen on "2000 B.C.".

Lyrically "Mic Club" is one of the finest battle influenced records of the year, the album doesn't manage to capture anything else. "Mic Club" is more or less one big verse that goes on for 50 plus minutes. There are almost no hooks to any of the songs, just lyrics and lyrics and more lyrics. Bis spits straight through every track with no stopping and after awhile it becomes quite tedious and boring, no matter the great lyricism. "Mic Club" tends to drag on as 30 minutes into the album you wonder if you are still on the same song. There is no song structure for any of the tracks, no hooks; no thought put into any of them, just lyrics. In order to make a great album you need many things, however two of the most important are balance and variety, there is none of that on "Mic Club". With nothing but battle lyrics, minus one concept of sorts "Bis Vs. Rip", "Mic Club" is a lyrical fans dream, but for all others it's a nightmare. You won't find any originality, any variety and any concepts on this album. And while it was necessary for Bis to get back to his roots and show everybody he could still spit, Bis went a little overboard, not realize there is more to an album than lyrics. If Bis wants to spit for 100 straight bars on one or two tracks than it is definitely welcomed, however doing this for 10 plus tracks boarders on insane. Canibus needs to have song structure, including hooks and melodies. We all know Bis can spit, its about time he show us he can make a good song. Every minute and every second of "Mic Club" it seems as if Bis is forcing all these lyrics down are throat, giving us now time for it to seep in. As mentioned before, the album is more or less one big verse.

While the album does feature many fines moments such as the JMT collaboration of "Liberal Arts". Which features some great production by Stoupe, building the hype for there up and coming project. However, the rest of the album follows the same boring pattern. Tracks such as "Master Thesis", "Behind Enemy Rhymes", "C Section", "Drama" and "Dr. C PHD" are all outstanding battle tracks but don't offer the finest in production or in any other category at that. They will quickly bore you as Canibus continues to lyrically rip through them to no avail. At times you almost wish Bis would stop and change it up a little. Too much of anything is never good, and the plethora of battle rhymes on "Mic Club" is evident of that.

"Mic Club" is a great return for Canibus and proof he hasn't fully lost his edge, Bis still has to prove he can put out a great album front to back with variety, originality and concepts. Production wise the album is solid, but Bis could still see some improvement, which will hopefully happen with his up and coming album with Stoupe of JMT. Labeled as a concept album, lets hope Bis finally gives us what we have waited for since '97, a conceptually dope album. Overall, if lyrics are what you thirst for, than look no further than "Mic Club". With too many quotable lines to mention, every track is a lesson in lyrical exercise. His vocab is deep, his flow is spectacular and lyrically nobody is touching Bis in regards to battle rhymes. However, we all know Bis is capable of more, and this is evident after listening to "Mic Club". While this album was a must for Bis to truly save his career and show everybody he can still spit, in the end it lacks in anything that will make it last past a few listens. Canibus is moving in the right direction, lets just hope he doesn't swerve off track like he is known for doing.

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