The late Adam Yauch once rapped “Columbine Bowling/childhood stolen/we need a bit more gun controlin.” In the modern extreme political environment, Latyrx take this simple yet powerful idea and decide to make a whole track out of it. “Reload” is a ham handed, overbearing song dedicated to the idea of gun control. The track seems to be a microcosm for the duo’s first new album in sixteen years–adeptly called The Second Album. The album feature several political and social messages that are pushed to their extreme until they are nearly laughable.
The album starts well meaning enough. The opening track “Arrival” re-introduces us to our emcees, Lateef the Truth Speaker and Lyrics Born. Both seem to be orating more than rapping on the track. In their best minister-in-the-pulpit voices, the duo paint a picture of a world changing for the better. This sentiment is immediately disproven by their sociopolitical anthems that seem to show a country worse off than where it was on the debut album.
Besides the ham handed “Reload,” we get the even worse “Power of Rumor (Leonard is Lost).” The four-minute track spins a tale about how a poster simply stating “Leonard is Lost” goes viral and eventually reaches the point where even the president must comment on it. The track is an obvious critique on the twitter rumor mill that creates stories out of nothing. However the grand payoff of the track is we find out at the end that the sign was meant for a lost cat–the biggest let down since the last episode of Seinfeld. To make matters worse is to get to the horrible payoff the listener must sit through one of the worst choruses on the album sung by what sound like a female opera singer.
That isn’t to say that album doesn’t have a few bright spots. The tUnE-yArDs produced track, “Watershed Moment” merged abstract indie with some of fine verses, including one from Gift of Gab. Unfortunately the only other song on the album that comes close to that success is the AmpLive produced “It’s Time” featuring Zion I. Outside of those two tracks, it’s hard to point out songs that might be must listens.
Unfortunately the list of “easily skippable” far out weigh the good. When two emcees of this ilk get together, expectations are sure to be high but it feels like with The Second Album even the lowest expectations are not met.