Album artwork we designed for Canibus and Keith Murray
After months of diss tracks met with the worst response of all – shrugs and complete indifference – Canibus once again returns to delivering proper album material alongside legendary Def Squad emcee Keith Murray as the Undergodswith In Gods We Trust: Crush Microphones To Dust. Thankfully the clunkiest part of the album’s wordplay is its title as The Burnout Brothers include the strongest tracks from their 2009 EP. They pick up where they left off with new (or unreleased due to some of the dated Bush references) displays as to why they are the strongest technicians from two crews made up of all strong technicians. Stepping into a fan’s shoes, where this latest installment from The Undergods falters is that it doesn’t feel so much like a latest installment. Most likely reason for this is that an earlier EP was essentially split apart and inserted piecemeal in between another EP’s worth of new music not counting three tracks of intro / segue material. The interplay on the tracks couldn’t be tighter but the album feels lost when the tracks are all lined up.
While Keith Murray doesn’t have the same zany pitbull dynamic he has on Def Squad tracks with Redman, when he trades bars – sometimes as frequently as 4 and 4 – with Canibus over gutter funk production like Jake One’s new “Undergods Roll” he ratchets up the horsepower so high high he frequently leaves the Horseman he’s sharing the track with back on the starting line. This is in large part due to charisma and rhyme schemes of a caliber unheard from Keith since his three ’90s albums. No one can fuse tales of Templars to chemistry textbook chatter like Canibus, but listening to Keith throw his voice into an Ignnnant Southern drawl, bark at Dog The Bounty Hunter, stutter the D’s in “Desert Eagle” to mimic gunfire or detail making “bombs out of toothpaste” and “sticking a grown man in a suitcase” it’s clear who wins by TKO.
Nonetheless it’s a testament to the often flawless chemistry between Canibus and Murray that midway through the Planet Asia assisted opener “Rock Wit Us” you momentarily forget that another dynamic duo traded bars over the same Margie Joseph sample two years ago on the Only Built For Cuban Linx sequel. And while Rae and Ghost are at their strongest when The Abbot steps in to guide an album’s development even on the tracks he isn’t producing, The Undergods bringing in Erick Sermon to executive produce may have brought them great Blackout style beats but it didn’t help the cohesion when all the tracks were finally linked together.
Yet for those who have followed Keith and Bis’s history of unhinged barking and biting but missed the first installment of their joint effort, In Gods We Trust… will more than make – and smack – up for lost time.