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I Predict a Riot

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Album Review

Though Hezekiah may not have the name-recognition fellow Philadelphians the Roots enjoy, that isn't for lack of talent or effort. On his second record (and first on the newly rebirthed Rawkus), I Predict a Riot, the producer/MC makes a compelling case for his upcoming reign. Following the 9th Wonder school of beat-making, albeit with more emphasis on his own keyboard work and less on sped-up soul samples, Hezekiah crafts warmly melodic lines that don't get too tied up in their own breeziness to actually make a point or forget the hook. He brings in hand percussion, guitars, and a variety of talented vocalists (Bilal, Jaguar Wright) to further emphasize the strength of his beats, which doesn't lie in their ingenuity — they're pretty straightforward, and not overly intricate — but simply in how well they're executed, each layer, each note, there for a reason. On "Wild & Wreckless," horns burst over a dampened drum kit as the rapper spits "And words cannot express how I feel inside/I wrote this rhyme the same day that Dilla died" while on "Bombs Over Here" a plucked guitar plays under warm, brassy fills as he shows off his own voice. Because Hezekiah's equally talented on the mic as he is behind the boards, and although he generally sticks to conscious thoughtfulness and social and relationship issues, he's not afraid to break into the club-esque jam ("Single Now") or discuss race problems ("If One Falls"), either. But just because there's nothing revolutionary on I Predict a Riot, nothing that's never been done before, it doesn't mean the album isn't good, even great. His rhymes and beats are more focused, clearer, and more intelligent than a lot of what else is out there, and he writes well-done, backpacker-friendly songs that are also catchy and memorable. All of which puts Hezekiah on track to be a new and powerful Philadelphia force.

Biography

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '00s

As one of Philly's premier underground beat-makers (J-Live, Zap Mama, Bahamadia, Mr. Complex, and Pharoahe Monch), Hezekiah got his humble start singing in church and fronting his uncle's funk band. In 1986, he received some hands-on training when his cousin brought home a four-track recorder and drum machine, and from then on, through school, he spent much of his free time making beats as a hobby. After graduating, Hezekiah hooked up with one of the few hip-hop acts based out of Delaware and created...
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I Predict a Riot, Hezekiah
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