June 18, 2020

Heltah Skeltah "Nocturnal" (June 18, 1996)

"In 1993 a little-known group called Black Moon released an album that would become an underground classic, Enta Da Stage. Thus was born the Bootcamp Clik and their distinct brand of sonic mayhem: quirky, Caribbean-influenced lyrical phrasing atop deep, moody tracks. Black Moon's offering was soon followed by Smif-N-Wessun's equally compelling Dah Shinin'. Now Bootcamp's third edition, Heltah Skeltah, release their own opus, Nocturnal. As former members of the Decepticons (a Brooklyn-based gang that terrorized NYC high schools in the late '80s), Ruck and Rock - Heltah Skeltah's twin cannons - could be expected to do the obvious: rehash how many broken bodies they've left in their wake. Uhhh-uhhh. Nocturnal's menace doesn't come from self-propaganda. Heltah Skeltah derive their edge from the dynamic vocal presence delivered by Rock's low-pitched growls and Ruck's irrationally tinged mutterings; dark, gritty production; and the duo's creative song structuring, as on "Therapy," a scintillating bit of back-and-forth wordplay which has Ruck playing the gruff psychiatrist to Rock's tormented patient, and "Sean Price," where Ruck appropriates Super Cat's haunting lament from "I'm Not Sure Anymore" to chilling effect. Nocturnal never takes the hard-edged vibe over the line. The two MCs possess a dry sense of humor that gives the album a multidimensional feel." - Spin Magazine, 8/96 // The full review is below... Rest In Peace, Sean P!