Friday, June 3, 2011

CunninLynguists - Oneirology

I find it odd my first two reviews both have rather immature names. First Starfucker, now CunninLynguists. But who cares about the name if the music is good, right? And Oneirology is certainly that.
CunninLynguists is a southern alternative hip hop group that have been around since about 2000, but I am late on the bandwagon and this is the first album by them I have heard. So unfortunately I have to review this pretty much in the dark about the past of the band. This is their 5th studio album to date and it was released back in March. The title of the album, Oneirology, is the scientific study of dreams, and just from that you got the concept of the album. From start to finish CunninLynguists take you from one dreamy and thoughtful track to the next. It's not limited to just talking about dreams in the context of what you experience while you sleep, it also touches on primal human desires and urges. They talk about things like violent urges, drugs, raw sexual desires, love, all of it. And it talks about all these subjects in a truly honest way. A lot of lyrics about things like this can come off like they're trying too hard, or their glorifying all of it. What CunninLynguists brings is total honesty about the dark side of life, and the human desires and instincts. The result is quite a poignant hip hop experience, which is amazingly complimented by the superb beats provided by member Kno. Every beat here has me craving and clawing for more. He doesn't just throw on a beat and loop it the entire track, he changes it up as the song goes on and adds layers to keep you interested, so it feels more like you're being taken by the hand and lead through a song and have new things to admire the further you go. Also the use of sampling and the guest appearances are all great. Overall I think I can say that not a single track disappoints me.
That isn't to say the album is perfect though. While the lyrics are great and the rappers are great, I feel like they could maybe put a bit more behind it so it hit me a little harder. They have good flow, but I wouldn't call it fantastic. It doesn't leave me reeling like some of my favorite rappers do. However this might be more fault of the production, because while I absolutely adore the beats on this album, they might just be a tad too loud. It raises the problem of getting so into the beat that the verses kind of fall behind a veil and you have to pay extra attention to catch everything that's going on. I love the beats, but if I wanted to focus on just them I'd find an instrumental version. But honestly this is the only gripe I can think of for this album, and it's still a pretty minor one. I am completely loving this thing.

I'd recommend this to any hip hop fans, and for those that call hip hop an immature genre of music that talks about nothing but bitches and hoes. This album should most definitely change their mind. And anyone who's been wanting to get into hip hop but doesn't like the typical mainstream radio rapper. This is great stuff. Like I said, this is my first experience with CunninLynguists, and after this I'm definitely going to be digging into their earlier work and also keeping my eye out for what they have next.


Favorite tracks: Hard as They Come (Act I), Murder (Act II), Enemies With Benefits, Looking Back


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