MC Amalgam: Red is Not Dead EP (Downtown Digital Records)
A far too rare excursion into the genre ‘rap’ from us here at Louder Than War. MC Amalgam’s a relative newcomer to the world of hip hop but despite that his debut Ep, Red is Not Dead, is a very fine piece of work.
The debut EP Red is Not Dead from French born Reading based MC Amalgam opens aptly with title track âRed is Not DeadâÂ, bassy and addictive. Providing a commendable level of genuine passion and a message of revolution amongst social angst, he eloquently raps: âMy socialism’s scientific/ my concepts metaphysic/ My ideology is Trotskyist, my materialism, dialectic/ I’m unashamedly for the fourth international/ I believe in oppression and in its destructionâÂ. Performed entirely in French (lyrics and translations are available here), the flow has a dynamism which is challenging and exciting to those whose ears are used to the American or English accents and simpler syntax.
An EP like this can be easy to gloss over with the genre coat of \’political rap’, which would be a loss for beautifully crafted tracks such as âDroit dans le MurâÂ, which explore the deeper human need and the abyss underneath quick fixes and social pressure. âDroitâÂ¦âÂ is an exquisitely written track which offers a discourse of deeply provocative and harrowing feelings, perfectly described without once faltering into a spell of self indulgence or pity: âImperfect, perfidious, already lost is the battle/ Going on inside us, where we alone are against ourselves/ To perfect my diction, to forget my addiction/ To stop playing the game of the carrot and the stick/ To build productivity, to repent and then fall back stillÃÂ / I teach myself to lie to myself and yet always dividedÃÂ / Between my admitted mistakes and my repressed desiresâÂ. The sincerity behind a track like this is evident, the discourse and semantics making for an atmospheric and cutting song. The depths of the track are unsettlingly open.
Other highlight of the four track EP is âLa BulleâÂ, featured on âVolume 1 of the Anti Copyright & Censorship CompilationâÂ, a sincerely alive track with no theatrics. With the kind of \’anger’ felt in the lines of âLa BulleâÂ it is interesting how MC Amalgam insists on acknowledging himself and the subjectivity of his words, never preaching but instead promoting the notion of being fully aware, including aware of ones self. âLa BulleâÂ contains a bouncing accordion backed beat and a hard to shrug chorus which hold together a diverse track that discusses everything from the commercialisation of the concept of the \’street’ to the fragility and base level of human existence and inevitable death.
âRed is Not DeadâÂ fulfils its promise of thought provoking lyricism and complexity in lyricism and syntax which is often overlooked completely in mainstream American and English HipHop. Hopefully it’ll spark a new wave of imported HipHop. Red is Not Dead is a perfect rookie EP from which we can sense that with better production there will be an inevitable upward progression from MC Amalgam.