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Sandpeople's Illmaculate Drops 'Skill Talk' LPWapikiya Records

Illmaculate
Skrill Talk

Portland, Oregon rapper Illmaculate is well known for his success as a battle rapper. He has picked up various titles including champ of 2004 Scribble Jam freestyle rap competition at the age of 17 — the youngest winner in the competition’s history. Along with his rap partner The Saurus, Illmaculate also won the World Rap Championship two years running in 2006 and 2007. The Portland battle rapper is also known for his part in the 10 man rap group, The Sandpeople. In Skrill Talk, the rapper has crafted a listenable experience, but struggles to display much in the way of creativity or originality.

Illmaculate’s, Skrill Talk for the most part focuses on the rapper and his experiences within music. He talks about desires and his path, what he does within the music, rarely offering opinion. The album doesn’t feel like a complete package. The tracks do not engage the listener as you might hope. Overall, the album feels fairly repetitious and lacks variety that would allow Illmac’s talents to shine outside of the battle circuit.

Technically, the delivery throughout feels as though it’s plucked from a battle. Each bar feels like a slow build up to a final punchline, which creates a monotonous, up-and-down style that becomes exhausting for the listener. This is no doubt a direct product of Illmac’s extensive battle history; he seems to have difficulty in finding a style that works well for this album.

Positives of the album are the variety of featured artists and producers. Eight individual artists make appearances on the album, in addition to a posse cut with the Sandpeople collective. Most notable are Tech N9ne and Inspectah Deck on “How You Do That” and “Go Study”. The production is handled by a total of nine different producers who create a mellow atmosphere for the most part with a few aggressive exceptions. The production and rapping go together well. Neither is out of place. No beat particularly stands out, but never overwhelms Illmaculate.

Throughout the 15-track album I was disappointed to not hear anything that caught my ear. It is not a terrible album, however. It sticks to safety, never venturing into the unknown but lacking creativity. Skrill Talk often feels as if it is a Hip-Hop/R&B hybrid that is increasingly common in music today. Illmaculate knows how to rap, however I don’t think Skrill Talk showcases him at his best.

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