Supastition
Chain Letters
2005
B+



underground rappers mostly rap about planetary bodies and UFO's (Canibus) or squander an entire album complaining about the complacency infesting the rap game (Little Brother). But Supastition is not like most underground rappers. Instead of complaining, he provides his mic skills as an alternative for wack-tose intolerant hip-hop fans. In fact, he doesn't even like the word "underground."

If you've ever been a disciple of Supa's music, you'd understand why he refuses to be boxed in a certain category.

The Greenville, NC-native hustled and bustled his way past 5000+ others to win a slot alongside collaborator/beat maestro Nicolay on ?uestlove's Okayplayer compilation—2004's True Notes…Vol 1. Prior to that, Supastition's only claim to fame was a guest spot on KRS-One's overlooked Keep Right album and a production-marred LP. But after 7 Years of Bad Luck, this supa emcee proves that persistence often pays off.

Chain Letters wins by setting a new, yet reachable standard for indie rappers—an honest, approachable, and humble showcase that's lacking in a genre where everyone's dying to make heads spin in deep thoughts. Over the gritty steel drum shiver of "Hate My Face," his lyrical dexterity brings to mind a less manic Eminem in his prime, while down-to-earth rhymes on "Appreciation" rank Supa second to none.

Plagued by uninspiring beats in the past, the Tar Heel State native has finally found the sound that reflects his voice and wraps around his style. Take "Don't Stop" for example, where M-Phazes drafts a heart-tugging yet hard-hitting tune tailored to meet Supa's harmonic needs. The basic drum loops and soulful samples on "A Baby's Story" is strictly customized to fit Supastition's nostalgic story about a man who winds up paying a heavy price for idolizing his car and neglecting his family. On "100%," White Shadow crafts a migraine-inducing knock that begs for instant replay, generously sprinkling scratches and fragments of vocal samples over a jazz-infused sonic bed.

Dope rhymes and stellar production are the catalysts for Supa's resurgence, but it usually takes more than bangin' beats and shrapnel-edge delivery to get mentioned amongst the avant garde of Hip Hop. By not straying too far from the entire spectrum of life and music experiences, Supastition flirts with monotony. While cockeyed declarations like "I'm scared for rappers who gon' be out of a job when Chain Letters comes" on the Nicolay-reunion, "Rise" are forgivable, detouring into the rehashed holier-than-thou territory on "That Ain't Me" and "Special Treatment" would probably cause ?uestlove to recall Supa to the OkayPlayer Boot camp.

Thankfully, that won't be necessary, as the NC-all star posse cut "Soul Control" with Justus League affiliates Phonte and Big Pooh help put Chain back on track (making you wonder if Little Brother should expand into a four-man group to include Supastition).

Showing that the South has more to offer than gold teef and syrup-sipping crunk, Supastition sticks to a script that allows him to be creative—no Canibus-esque bravado raps, no fever-dream weirdness of MF Doom. In this age of disposable rap, this is one letter that should be read over and over, and then passed around. His best work—spread the word.


Reviewed by: Henry Adaso
Reviewed on: 2005-12-16
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