Ron Artiste: R.I.D.S.

Ron Artiste, Roc C, Chali 2naRon Artiste: R.I.D.S.
I love underground hip hop, however, there is a side of me that can sometimes take a liking to a slight mainstream, as well. So when an album combines the raw talent and lyricism of the underground and the crisp, clean production and sound of the mainstream, I get hooked in. Former Stones Throw label member Roc C teamed up with the always rugged Chali 2na formerly of Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli as Ron Artiste.
I was a little interested when I hit play on the first track because I did not know what to expect. These were two very different emcees; Roc C, an underground, lyrical wizard on the mic with very complex rhyme schemes, and Chali 2na, a very rough, seasoned hip hop veteran with a nerve for tough rhyming. As soon as “Ron’s Theme” featuring Edo G started, I became a fan. The song is very contemporary with some synths backing a touch, Midwest-like beat. Then “Trapped In” hit off with a very ghostly beat and more synths and these two emcees dropped their verses with some intense flow. Something comparable to a Madvillain track, “Wisewords” featuring Oh No is a song for every underground hip hop head to have on their iPod. The track features a subtle bass with crisp percussion, a mysterious vocal sample and a looming bass loop. The whole production on the track is phenomenal and Ron Artiste, along with Oh No, goes all in on this song, rhyming in a very braggadocious manner.
Bursting in with a soul sample and a verse from former Little Brother member, rapper Big Pooh. His verse was incredible, and Roc C and Chali 2na followed up with some dope verses after the really catchy, soul-sampled hook. By now, I thought I had a contemporary gem in my hands, but something went astray as the tracks went on. These first four tracks were excellent ways to start off the album, but the album took a bumpy pathy to the end.
“Bar Catchers” was ok, and so was the Krondon-featured track, “High Enuff.” Both tracks stayed true to an underground, hip hop style, but they were talking a lot about smoking and typical mainstream stuff that doesn’t interest me. I know I said in the beginning how I appreciate the mainstream touch, but that’s more in the sound and quality, not the lyrics. Then the Ariano-feature track “I Will” came on and that annoying snare set-up comes in and completely turned me off. I was hoping for some seriously dope tracks to recuperate. “Riot In The Streets” featured another mysterious vocal sample and a really dope beat, helped me get back in the mood.
With a 16-track album, I expected more–especially from these vets. R.I.D.S. is not a bad album, but many tracks sound too similar. If they had taken a more concise approach, the album would have felt less cluttered.
Rating: 7.4/10
MP3: Ron Artiste featuring Ed OG “Ron’s Theme”
Buy: iTunes

1 Comment

  • questor carter says:

    first off let me give you so insight this album its a concept album they wrote it as if the were embodied in ron with there combined emceeing skills how would they handle the issues ron created for him self now if you would of took the time to talk to them then listen to the full ablum as i did it all comes together but you sir ae just a critic that would not take the time to learn these things so you went into this a tad blind so now go listen again take the clips they used as interludes as a guide line to why songs are writen in the manor they were then come again

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