Darc Mind

Symptomatic Of A Greater Ill

Anticon ABR063CD
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Recorded from '95 to '97 for Loud/RCA (before Loud's ignoble fall from grace), Darc Mind's Symptomatic of a Greater Ill is a record almostwithout comparison in the history of NY rap. By this, I mean to say thatthere are songs on this album, "Visions a Blur" chief among them, thatsound as if they arrived whole from another world altogether. Inevitably, the press surrounding this record will struggle, mightily but vainly, tofigure out how Darc Mind fits into anticon's larger oeuvre. Let's just say,if less for the sake of accuracy and more to avoid such aimless arguments,
that 1. it doesn't, and 2., anticon is profoundly grateful to be slipping this rare record to the wider world.

One could, at perhaps too great a length, detail Kevroc's powerfully unique sense of timing, his nearly instrumental phrasing, andthe density of his lyrics, the strange words he cobbles together and lets offin bursts in a voice that's the lowest, Moses-fresh-from-the-mountaintop rumble.

One need merely skim the surface of the record to see the scars of cynicism about the sea change just then occurring in hip-hop: the transitionfrom "Illmatic" to "It Was Written," the ascendancy of Biggie and Jigga, anewly surfaced affection for making couplets from the raw material ofbrand names, and the R&B hooks that swaggered out from Mary J.'s shadow into pop-rap ubiquity. In "Visions a Blur," his transcendentaddition to the critical tradition of O.C.'s "Time's Up" and Jeru's "ComeClean," he evokes the absurd spectacle of pharaohs buried with their jewels, as if to buy off the underworld gods: "You brag of Maximas andAccuras to carry you to heaven." Or the bacterial effect of the fashions ofthe time: "Suckers are suffering from drinking off the same 40 bottle."Elsewhere, he states his role plainly: "I do work on the circuit, preach in the city,/ rap like I'm standing before the Senate Ethics Committee."

And the beats--oh, the beats--ground this insider/outsider sense of the tradition. Like a shadowy take on DITC at its prime, a treasure chestof horns, vibes, and pianos are taken in, ruggedly reworked, and laid inwith full-bodied basslines and chopped drum breaks. Darc Mind's DJ/Producer GM Webb D (aka X-Ray) released his first rap record in '89,and in the span from the fractured, unsettling "I'm Ill" to the horn stab anddrum machine-driven "Fever Pitch," which could almost be lifted from P.E.'s cacophonous first album, one can almost hear rap's history and itsfuture being willfully crosscut and interlaced.

This is, bluntly stated, the album that, if released in '97 by Loud/RCA as planned, could have effected, if only slightly, the orbit ofmid-to-late 90's hip-hop: it could have given heart to the innovators whowere just then giving up the ghost, skeptical and exhausted; it could have given testimony that NYC rap was not divided between the too-simplecategories of Rawkus-brand backpacker and dionysian thug; it could havestated clearly that a certain kind of NYC rap record, both traditional and envelope-pushing, was still a serious possibility.

Darc Mind: Symptomatic Of A Greater Ill

Visions of a Blur Darc Mind 4'56''
U Da One Darc Mind 4'33''
Seize the Phenom Darc Mind 4'19''
Knight of the Round Table Darc Mind 2'02''
I'm Ill Darc Mind 4'06''
Covert OP Darc Mind 3'48''
Give Me Time Darc Mind 4'18''
BMOC Darc Mind 5'08''
Fever Pitch Darc Mind 3'50''
Rhyme Zone Darc Mind 2'04''
Outside Looking In Darc Mind 3'56''

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