It's nice, after the frequently meaningless clever wordplay of certain well known caucasian rappers, to have a record where you want to study every detail of the words, where there is almost too much information to take in without a lot of repeated listens. I don't understand why more records aren't like this, writing about what's going on in your home, what's going on in your street, what's going on in your country and what the fuck is going on in the world at large, writing about love, life and death... In the middle of rock's post-cobain miserabilism and hiphop's I-Ching of Bling we have records like this (and the current No.1 single by the Black Eyed Peas!) talking about the same thoughts that *we* have. I'm a sane individual... I worry if there's police up and down my street, and I worry when some uncredible numbnuts in the White House decides to go and kill foreigners. Ostriches stick their heads in the sand, and it would appear that lyricists stick their heads up their own ass....anyway...
The overall musical tone of 'Faster Than You Know' navigates a jazzy path between the hooky melodies of Soul II Soul and melancholy of Nitin Sawhney's 'Beyond Skin', Ming Xia's sung melodies interspersed with dense lucid rhyming from Book, Joe and Hypno. My favourite tracks of the seventeen here are the last one, 'Eulogy', and the bonus tracks (especially the last one 'I Can't Sleep').They take a different darker musical angle to the rest, an eery horror movie flavour reminiscent of The Gravediggaz, and I kind of wish more of the music had been as idiosyncratic and dark as this, rather than treading water with relatively off the shelf R&B, because even though this album is laden with catchiness, may yet spawn a whole bunch of hit singles, and has considerably more lyrical substance to it than much contemporary US hip hop, the music itself often sounds a little polite for my personal tastes and lets the side down.
8Chris Nettleton's Score