The Future Is Now
(Uncle Howie Records)
are paranoid times. That's what this period in history will
always be remembered for: paranoia, fear, destruction. Should
we make it through this whole "new reality" intact,
we will undoubtedly look back at how everything seemed to
change literally overnight. The most nervous of science
fiction writers now look like veritable prophets in this
age of microscopic cameras and worldwide terrorism.
The Future Is Now, the latest from Brooklyn outfit Non-Phixion,
appears to be the right album at the right time for the
world's sour mood. Non-Phixion want to get plenty of issues
out in the open, and they don't live in a world where the
solutions come easy. Emcees Ill Bill, Sabac Red, and Goretex
lay down lyrically complex rhymes and the mood is unrelenting.
You won't listen to this release and say: "Yo, but
here's the dance track." That's something else that
you're talking about because the most lighthearted part
of this album is "Uncle Howie", where
a guy spends a minute describing his favorite
crack whore. What do you really want from an album with
titles like "Drug Music", "Black Helicopters",
and "Cult Leader"? Tales of the ghetto, tales
of Big Brother looking at everything you do and when you
that's at the center of The Future Is Now. The
messages at work here are delivered with force and conviction.
For an album so sure of itself, though, The Future Is
Now is a little uninspired. Whether it's the rhyming
or the composition, nothing on this album is particularly
memorable. Maybe it's the way that DJ Eclipse keeps the
musical frame of mind too low to the ground for the entirety.
The production work isn't weak, really, but it doesn't take
many chances nor does it make any attempt to make a name
for itself. It's not until "Strange Universe"
(co-starring MF Doom) that I feel drawn to anything here;
the song's a bit different and interesting, but not by much.
That's deep into the proceedings and is also not an example
as the most we get at the end is an ill-advised remix of
"The C.I.A. Is Trying To Kill Me" featuring a
gnawing hard rock backup.
To be honest, we have a collection of artists who have the
tools to make a stunning effort, but have come up short.
There are some shows of brilliance on this album; "Where
You Wanna Go" is a strong track, but it only serves
to point out what could've been. The rest tends to fall
under the simple "back and forth, verse and chorus"
rap structure. Not exactly the way to get across thoughtful
subject matter, and for The Future Is Now to completely
succeed as an album it would need a more thoughtful approach.