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


  • #WAKEDAFUCUP – G’head, tell me there’s nothing nerdy about Onyx and I’ll slap you upside ya head with this fact: Sticky Fingaz played Blade. That’s right. Sticky donned the black-and-red trench and fangs for SpikeTV’s short-lived (but über cult-cool) TV series based on Marvel’s most dubious vampire hunter, played in the theaters by Wesley Snipes. Just face it: Onyx are easily the grimiest lyricists to play Brandy’s TV love interest, appear in straight-to-DVD horror sequels, and lose “celebrity boxing matches” to pencilneck skateboarders on MTV. Besides their hefty pop culture pedigree, the trio’s 8th album continues the hype call-and-response style reminiscent of their debut Backdafucup — and better yet, their criminally underrated 1998 LP Shut Em Down — as witnessed on the opener “Whut Whut” (strangely not featuring N.O.R.E.) and “Buc Buc”. While it’s nice to hear a cohesive sound provided by German-bred beat maestros, the Snowgoons, too much of the “gritty symphony” resembles each other (“Boom!!” — not quite), with hardly a risk taken (“Trust No Bitch” — this again?). Still, despite their utter determination to stick to early-90s roots, I do commend Onyx for inviting the right guests (Cormega, REKS, Sean Price) to support all of this seemingly timeless, bald-head craziness. 2.75/5.
  • PIñATA – Sorry– sorry it took so long for the Monsignor to review this record. But having not heard too much of Freddie Gibbs in the past, the psychedelic sample-crazy Piñata deserved more listens. And, since it’s one of my favorite records of the year, I’m glad did. Typically, Madlib provides beats for geeks, be it the masked lyrical villain MF Doom, the crate-diggin b-boy Lootpack trio, or even his own alter-ego Quasimoto. It doesn’t get any more #NerdSwaggy than that. Gibbs is a whole ‘notha animal, however, with a tighter-knit, hustle-hard mentality than emcees Lib’s worked with previous. Then again…

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