We previously heard the pairing of New Jersey MC Cymarshall Law and Hungarian producer Mr. JoeKer on their 2008 joint album, Hip Hop In The Soul. It was was a critically acclaimed affair that also featured a blistering appearance from KRS-One on the single “Control”. Since then, Cymarshall has been busy with tours and other projects ahead of their sequel. This time around on Hip Hop In The Soul 2, Cymarshall Law’s well-honed rhymes and Mr. JoeKer’s stellar beat work show growth in the duo’s aim to provide simple, head nodding hip-hop – although it doesn’t quite hold up to the legacy of its predecessor.
The LP opens with “How I Feel” and Mr. JoeKer’s track knocks with heavy bass and busy keyboard work matching well with Cymarshall’s earnest verse. “Murderous” continues the semi-autobiographical tone of the preceding track and Mr. JoeKer’s keyboard heavy sound is bolstered by Cymarshall’s performance. The song isn’t entirely memorable but the hook is strong. “Everday” is an early highlight as JoeKer’s somber track meshes wonderfully with Cymarshall’s slightly dialed down vocals which help to deliver his motivational and serious lines.
“Freedom Of Speech” is a well-meaning song that never takes off, but credit should be given to Cymarshall for injecting strong messages – including talking up the Voting Law of 1964. However, neither JoeKer’s excellent track nor Cy’s great hook can save this song. “I’m Gonna Win” gets the LP back on track with JoeKer’s beat being a true highlight. Cymarshall’s tale of relationships gone sour resonates.
Following tracks like “Juggling”,“911”,“Bump In The Night” and “The War” prove that Cymarshall isn’t an empty headed rapper although JoeKer’s tracks often carry the weight. “Rings Of Fire” is a welcome track and the only features as Law’s older brother Skit Slam and underground veteran John Robinson join him on the effort. Their appearance help break up the fatigue the listener may suffer after so much Cymarshall on this overlong album.
The true star of the LP is Mr. JoeKer but by no means does Cymarshall Law lack as a rapper and lyricist. In fact, he seems to have effortless command of his style but perhaps cutting down the length of this release would have raised the quality just a bit. 18 songs are a bit much in a time where hip-hop releases drop almost daily. A more focused effort from the pair should have been undertaken.