What is toast without the butter? Or how about eggs without the bacon? Or better yet (and cliché as hell), peanut butter without the jelly? Like all of these food items, hip-hop artists and musicians in general are not afraid to break up happy couples in search of solo albums to “double the pleasure” (code words for making double the money). Vordul Mega’s The Revolution of Yung Havoks follows right down this path towards Splitsville to create his first album sans the help of fellow Cannibal Ox member Vast Aire.
Following the lukewarm response to Vast Aire’s Look Mom No Hands solo effort earlier this year, Vordul, the street storyteller Cannibal Ox, proves that the Diplomats and Mase are not the only noteworthy Harlem dwellers dropping in 2004. Much like his efforts on Cannibal’s The Cold Vein, Vordul delivers a healthy dosage of Rotten Apple stories and tales from the ‘hood that paint a picture of change for the New York emcee.
The immediately addictive introduction to Revolution, “Neva Again,” features another in the long line of catchy sped-up samples freaked the hell out by a determined Vordul telling the stories of his troubled youth and rough family life. Vordul promises that those days are behind him and, as the title suggests, gone forever, giving hope to those still going through them.
The sample-happy fun continues later on with the Dev 1 produced gem “In the ‘Hood,” where Vordul and guest Karnage drop the conscious act for a minute to concentrate on riding the sample through the streets and “dragging their bags” through familiar territory. Those looking for that Cold Vein 2 album may be disappointed with predominantly Vast-less Revolution, but the duo does manage to reunite for a successful one-shot deal on “Handle That.”
Much of what surrounds these three tracks delves into the problems of the neighborhoods Vordul visits and offers an undying hope to those living there with uplifting song titles like “Pray” and “Believe” (which features a Jean Grae hook, but unfortunately, no verse!). “Hell yeah, we need to get up out the ghettos, At least the mind of somebody willing to settle ‘cause through the years we all been dealt a lot of ‘Hell no’s’,” Vordul raps over the pianos of Belief’s production on “Hell Yeah,” a song that borrows the title from another motivated and controversial New York hip-hop pair.
“And not to sound corny, but shorties got shorties plus they got forties, Thinkin’ they can drink ‘til they forty, Fuckin’ with the clubs getting’ naughty, But what happens when the tits get saggy?, The kids start askin’, ‘Where’s papi?’, Like Nemo, a sad predicament for our people,” Vordul continues on the strong “Blade,” another instance of his willingness to open his rhyme book up to his people.
If anything can be criticized about The Revolution of Yung Havoks, it may be Vordul’s lack of much movement amongst different topics – even Immortal Technique, one of the most controversial and outspoken acts of the last couple years has found ways to inject his political and revolutionary rhymes with interesting concepts and different ways of getting a message across, something that Vordul does not manage to do much here.
So, what is toast without butter, eggs without bacon, or peanut butter and jelly? Despite popular opinion, even without one of the two, the food will still be enough to sustain a hungry man. And Vordul Mega is not much different. Cannibal Ox proved that, for Vast Aire and Vordul, two heads were better than one. But Revolution of Yung Havoks proves that one head will suffice for now.