Dälek Gutter Tactics

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Can I get a fucking hallejeujah? Again; hallejeujah? I normally don’t celebrate right out of the box when I review a hip-hop record, but it’s just been so long since I heard a rap unit master the art of the chorus the way Dälek do. Pop in enough records with dippy J5/Streets/etc. shout-a-longs and you’ll feel the same way, bristling when another low-rent wrappa tries to express the meaning of his/her songs with a mundane sentence or two. As a copy editor who is forced (often by weapons-wielding superiors) to encapsulate the point of a 20-inch story in four words or less, I find the majority of rappers’ repeated failure to summarize the gist of their work tidily to be a glaring gap.

Dalek manage to keep their chants clean, thank christ, but their appeal goes far beyond their ability to NOT suck the life out of their jams with hairy choruses. Being a steadfast Dälek supporter since From Filthy Tongue of Gods and Griots, their debut album (Dälek are a group, despite the fact one member is also named Dälek; Jovi anyone?), I find it hard to find fault with their approach, which is same-y but laced with beats and rhymes so powerful they conjure the old ‘if it izain’t broke, don’t fixxit’ axiom.

And if for some unfathomable reason you don’t find their positively slimy production likeable, take a toke on their political bent, which results in the Rev. Jeremiah Wright opening the album with a pointed -- and provocative -- speech about the past ills of the U.S. over a typically siren-heavy beat. If you’re looking for a reprieve from there, you will be sorely disappointed. Dälek, homespun from the stinky burg that is Newark, N.J. (anyone ever stuck at Newark Airport will never go back), do NOT suffer the hordes of corrupt Americans gladly.

You know what? Scratch that. I HATE it when reviewers reference the birthplace of a band and then make ridiculous, tenuous-at-best connections (example: if your band is from California, your music is sunny or so dark as to blight the sun); I’m just saying that if anyone spent a large part of their childhood in a shithole with little opportunity, it’s Dälek. They are one with the underdogs and dogged in their audio-based pursuit of change.

Will they ever make a difference with their music? I’d had to lean toward yes; yes, they can.

1. Blessed Are They Who Bash Your Children's Heads Against A Rock
2. No Question
3. Armed With Krylon
4. Who Medgar Evers Was...
5. Street Diction
6. A Collection Of Miserable Thoughts Laced With Wit
7. Los Macheteros/Spear Of A Nation
8. We Lost Sight
9. Gutter Tactics
10. 2012 (The Pillage)
11. Atypical Stereotype

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