MC Amalgam: Red is Not Dead EP (Downtown Digital Records)
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Out Now

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 “Red is Not Dead”, bassy and addictive. Providing a commendable level of genuine passion and a message of revolution amongst social angst, he eloquently raps: “My 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 destruction”. 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 “Droit dans le Mur”, which explore the deeper human need and the abyss underneath quick fixes and social pressure. “Droit”¦” 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: “Imperfect, 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 still / I teach myself to lie to myself and yet always divided / Between my admitted mistakes and my repressed desires”. 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 “La Bulle”, featured on “Volume 1 of the Anti Copyright & Censorship Compilation”, a sincerely alive track with no theatrics. With the kind of \’anger’ felt in the lines of “La Bulle” 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. “La Bulle” 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.

“Red is Not Dead” 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.

All words by Halima Amin. More Louder Than War articles by Halima can be found here. Halima has her own website which you can find target=”_blank”>here.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Just wondering why there is no mention of the producers of this EP? who wrote half the songs and recorded and produced the entire EP. Would have been nice to get just even a little mention.

  2. No offence is ever intended in an unbiased review, but I didn’t feel it note worthy to mention producers etc, largely because I focused mostly on lyricism and on the new artist. There is slight mention of production toward the end, but this isn’t entirely positive thus rendering the mention unnecessary. Thanks for reading!

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