With "When I Die" going out to his deceased grandmother and "Canarsie High" bringing the pathos like never before, The Grimy Awards
could rightfully be seen as the softest album to date from underground rapper and Non-Phixion
member Ill Bill. Of course, that's with the previous discography being so hardcore that it was almost horrorcore, but the right way to think of this effort is balanced, with Bill challenging himself -- and his audience -- with a proper stretching of the skill set. Key cut "Exploding Octopus" even brings science and education into the picture, and yet all these advancements are tempered with the familiar Bill combo of brutish and earnest at all costs, especially when both "In the land of the blind, the man with one eye is the king" and "Stare into the past and see the future lookin' back at you" get barked out over the soulful Pete Rock
production called "Truth." Add names like DJ Premier
, DJ Muggs
, and H.R.
from the Bad Brains
as guests, and this one winds up the Ill Bill album to pick, winning the Grimy Award for Best Overall and bringing the rapper one step closer to Lifetime Achievement.