You have to love the Lo-Lifes for their sheer energy and determination. Even though Thirstin Howl III has gotten more of the spotlight, Rack-Lo is just as hungry. Known for stealing Polo clothes and loving the golden age of hip-hop, Rack Lo has been putting out his own cds on Spitfactory.com and Skillionaire Enterprises. He even stole other people's beats! Now, he returns with a completely brand new and original concept LP. Thirstin Howl III mainly produced "Aracknofoebia" but there are some other producers involved too.
The best tracks are the gritty, hardcore and energetic songs that maintain that hunger that The Lo Lifes are known for. "The Fear" features TH3 on the mic and on production. This is one of those hungry tracks where they practically eat the microphone. Rack-Lo's energy is perfectly complemented with Howl's crazy beat that uses chopped up piano sounds and weird horns. "Ego Breaking" was also produced by TH3. The scratched cuts for the chorus are extremely well done as a Krs-One sample is used ("time after time after time after time"). Rack-Lo's juggernaut delivery demands the attention and the verses are short. It's an extremely energetic track. Rack-Lo goes crazy on the mic: "Backspin / Back track / Blow up the back with a backpack / Flashback / Backstroke / Forwards, backwards / Backstage spoken backwards / I gotta have it.." Rack-Lo will leave your mind numb. "Disorderly Konduct" featuring Master Fool and Lo-Wife, closes the album with a riot-causing anthem. Also produced by TH3, Rack-Lo demands that you to "Act a fool!" It is a tight song and a wonderful track to get the listener amped up. "The Paperz" (produced by Mr. Noise) is a remake of Biz Markie's "Da Vapors" except that the money is the main theme. Although, it is a worthy tribute to Biz, I expected something a little more clever from Rack-Lo. Still, it's one of the better tracks on the album.
A majority of the tracks have a more electronic sound and sung hooks by Rack-Lo's Lo-Wife. Most of them do work but it is a new sound for The Lo-Lifes, which may catch some fans off-guard. "Living In The City" (produced by TH3) features Lo-Wife heavily on the vocals. The old-school vibe is strong again and Lo-Wife sings whole verses. The song has that Blaxplotation soundtrack feel mixed in with some Blues and Motown sound (in a hip-hop way). Lo-Wife steals the song completely due to her voice and the lyrics along with the amount of time she has on the mic. "Luv Me" features Lo-Wife again. TH3 has some amazing scratches on the chorus. The vocal-sample scratches work well along with Lo-Wife on the hook. Rack-Lo rocks very short verses about his family members (and he has a large family). While the sentiments and the production are wonderful, the song is too long. It clocks in a little over six minutes. While the hook is great, it's repeated over and over again since Rack-Lo's verses are very short. Other decent tracks include "Miracklulus", and "Lo Wife" (a tribute to Rack-Lo's Lo-Wife).
Some songs just do not hit hard and can be categorized as filler. The electronic production sounds a little generic at times and the sung hooks sound very similar to the other tracks. All the singing is done by Lo-Wife. The title track "Aracknofoebia" has that old-school electronic sound and a very catchy hook: "…Aracknofoebia / Step on toes and walk all over you / Spider walk / huh? / Rack Lo! Rack Lo!…" Sure, it is creative and catchy but does not have that hunger and raw energy that we love. It almost feels too tight. "Rackamatics" is a sloppy track with good energy but an annoying hook that is basically the title chanted. "Guilty Until Proven Guilty" features Thirstin Howl III and Lo-Wife on vocals. Even though the sentiments and the performances are all solid, the track does not hit as hard as some of the other songs. "Evil That Pimps Do" has verses by Richie Balance and Brad Spit and Lo-Wife on the hook again. Produced by TH3, the keyboard beat uses a nice guitar sample but it does not flow, it slowly chugs along. The electronic/keyboard beat does have that old-school feel but does not have a fluid rhythm that moves your body (or even nods your head).
While some of the skits and interludes can be considered filler too, "USA (interlude)" featuring Unique London is the funniest skit about the United Shoplifter's Association. It is a hilarious interlude. Unfortunately, the other skits are not as funny even though they do add to the superhero/comic book theme of the album.
Rack-Lo has stepped his game up. He has matured as a lyricist as he shows love to his family ("Luv Me"), contemplates race and politics ("Guilty Until Proven Guilty"), and love the braggadocio of hip-hop ("Mirakulus"). Rack-Lo has become the Spyda-Man of hip-hop. He's a ghetto superhero who steals, loves, and rocks microphones. Although he has the energy, his voice is always the same. Sometimes, he gets ahead of the beat. Production-wise, Lo-Lifes stepped up their game too. They do not need to steal other people's beats anymore. Thirstin Howl's gritty production on his LPS works extremely well but here, it some times sounds a little too computerized or electronic sounding. Still, this adds to the old-school vibe of the album. Remember when the old-school hip-hop songs had more that 4 verses and were longer than 5 minutes? Well, Rack-Lo loves the golden age of hip-hop and the song "Luv Me" is a perfect example of how he's trying to bring that golden age back. How can you hate him for that? "Aracknofoebia: The Art Of Webslinging" is a must for fans of The Lo-Lifes but not necessarily a good introduction. While the album is not as diverse as Thirstin Howl III's albums, there are some very entertaining tracks. The constant singing of his Lo-Wife does give the album a repetitious sound along with the keyboard/electronic-driven beats. As a theme album, it is very consistent but as a regular hip-hop LP, it is repetitious. This is not just a collection of songs, "Aracknofoebia" tells a story of a ghetto superhero. Rack-Lo is a very creative and hungry emcee and this album is a step in the right direction. Still, The Lo-Lifes are hungry and anyone who has a retail store should have "Aracknofoebia" when Rack-Lo and the Lo-Lifes enter it. The lovers of the Lo-Lifes should get caught in this web.