Artist: Earatik StatikTitle: Feelin’ EaratikRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Max Herman
In Chicago, Earatik Statik is considered to be a trio of Hip-hop vets. Sure, it’s taken them quite a few years to get an album on the shelves, but their official debut, Feelin’ Earatik (Gravel), is a testament to the dues they’ve paid along the way to express their love for Hip-hop and life. And hopefully the world outside of Chicago will be listening. MCs Celo and Abstruss Tone and DJ Rude One don’t get too complex here with their beats and rhymes; instead they bring forth a mostly solid outing of heavy boom-bap and straightforward raps with a touch of Windy City griminess.
While their rhymes are noticeably clear-cut, Abstruss and Celo offer a good balance between the gritty and the conscious, thus reaching out to a wider audience than most independent acts. The single “Evil Is Timeless,” for example, takes a direct look into the harsh reality of incarceration and the injustice of the judicial system. Then Earatik kicks some mildly boastful raps and guest Pacewon delivers the hook on the extra funky “People Like US.” Their simile-heavy rhymes may not have you itching to hit repeat, but they provide a steady stream of digestible wordplay. Meanwhile the production, provided by Rude One and a host of others, including Diamond D of D.I.T.C., almost always knocks. And the long roster of guests includes some reputable MCs like Kool Keith, K-Solo, Akrobatik and Edo G to name a few—some of which fit into the mix better than others. For one, Akrobatik sounds right at home on “IllState Massive,” rapping over Rude One’s drum-heavy banger. But other guests, like Kool Keith, with his intricate style, lyrically clash a bit with Earatik on “Destruction Mission.” But big ups to Rude One for cooking up a menacing beat, perfectly suited for everybody on this one.
When it comes to going it alone, Celo and Abstruss are able to keep things afloat more often than not—most notably on “Keep Rockin’.” This remarkably introspective song about persevering amid all the struggles of life is simply one of the best here. In the end, though, a roster of notable guests including Diamond D and Kool Keith will only help Earatik Statik expel their name beyond the parameters of the Midwest. While leaving their studio doors open this time around proved to be beneficial, it’ll be interesting to see what they can accomplish keeping it more in-house next time around.