#NerdSwag [Reviews]: CunninLynguists / Onyx / Freddie Gibbs & Madlib

…the tempo raises up a bit for Southern California guest MC Murs on the humorous “Drunk Dial.” The quirky array of brass and hypnotic keys provide a proper soundtrack for the sickness.

What’s so strange about this journey in particular, however, is Kno’s rollercoaster trip of tracks that branch from the consciously chill to the freakishly idyllic; and with a handful of the guests representin’ the Left Coast (Tunji, Blu, the previous 3, etc.), perhaps this record is the CunninLynguist version of Hollyweird. All — until our ears are blessed by the likes of East Coast hip-hop namesakes Aesop RockDemigodz, Masta Ace, and J-Live on the album’s latter half.


With a series of spiritual strings and enchanted vocal loops, “Castles” is easily one of the album’s finest. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Deacon chooses to destroy, either: “My memory banks the only thing I tend to rob / And every time I’m thrown the lob I’m out of dodge / It’s hard.. on the boulevard and other cliches / The type of bullshit that I’m feeding self these days / Corrosion on my relays / One day my mirror shows.. an imp in new clothes / Exposed…” Whoa.

“King” kicks the album’s second half into high gear, and “The Format” sees former Lynguist Mr. SOS joining Kno’s lone verse on the LP over RJD2‘s tick-tocking drumline, sparse keys and chimes.

While there’s no denying the dopeness of #SJV3, every track seems to zip by faster than a race between a TIE and a Naboo Starfighter, and I would have preffered a tad more disparity in the production. Still, keeping it all thematic can be a good thing too, seeing how the Lynguists — and even their onslaught of rhymesaying pals — don’t stray away from the conscious style and sci-fi overtones of this Strange Journey. Three more standouts for all you swaggeroonies: The chilling “Dying Breed”, “Beyond the Sun” — a spiritual blazer with words of galactic pilgrims and not-so-intelligent life — and “Urotora Kaiju”. Yup, the last track is about the CunninLynguists confrontation with a series of Pacific Rim-sized goliaths. The track is fearless, as both Natti and Tonedeff light up the laser-laced track with Elighesque dexterity. It’s so hype you’ll need to hear it a hundred thousand more times until you remember to ask…

Are we there yet?

4.25 (out of 5) Bibles.
4.25 (out of 5) Bibles.







CunninLynguists’ Strange Journey Volume III was released yesterday, April 1. You can “name your price” for the record at their website.

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