Son of Bazerk
Bazerk Bazerk Bazerk
The packaging of the Bomb Squad-produced Bazerk Bazerk Bazerk pays unsubtle but loving homage to the highly memorable cover art of James Brown’s debut LP Please, Please, Please. By now it is an axiomatic truth that The Godfather of Soul has influenced innumerable hip-hop artists, but his presence is nearly palpable on this album. The wily half-sung, half-shouted raps are more than just vaguely reminiscent of Brown’s signature yelps and assorted spastic outbursts. But that’s not even the half of it. While Son of Bazerk and his rapping/singing/shouting cohorts try their hardest to emulate the feeling of a JBs performance at a fever pitch, it is the Bomb Squad who truly channel Brown’s spirit and steal the show. Although It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back is widely regarded as the apex of the Bomb Squad’s hyperkinetic production, this album sees the famed Strong Island production team take their relentless sensory assault one step further. The music is at times dense and unsettling; saxophones scronk amid quick guitar licks while solid boom-bap drums anchor all varieties of scale-climbing solos. Bazerk’s wall of sound overwhelms and captivates, but repeated listens reveal the methods governing the dizzying madness. The samples are so brilliantly selected and carefully placed that even the most cacophonous arrangements sound like the work of a finely tuned if overworked live band. The ecstatic noise of songs like “The Band Gets Swivey on the Wheels” dominates much of the album, but the listener is also treated to sublimely hypnotic moments, like when the guitars pan between the left and right channels on the relatively tranquil “Lifestyles of the Blacks in the Brick.” Conspicuously experimental moves like the ballsy borrowing of the central guitar riff from Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” on the track “One Time for the Rebel,” exemplify the Bomb Squad’s knack for creating rap music that functions as both a reverently nostalgic and unnervingly innovative source of modern funk.