With only two projects under their belt, Akoko, from Washington D.C., have made an exceedingly strong case to be included in the pantheon of the underground’s greatest rap duos. Irie X and Sugg Savage, together called Akoko, made their first splash with the track Royal Flush, displaying a penchant for lyricism and technical flow. Capitalizing on the buzz created by the single, the duo soon put out a quick, roughly produced EP titled Killer Tofu. However, it wasn’t until their first full-length release, Cataraps, that Akoko’s brilliance got the full-fledged display it deserved… and the wait was worth it.
Through the entire length of its 14-song tracklist, Cataraps brims with a contagious energy and charisma, much like a classic Outkast record. The production is refreshingly loud and erratic, drawing elements from alternative and electronica, whereas the duo’s boisterous confidence elevates the fun to another level. While Sugg Savage delivers sharp, breathless verses laden with wordplay, Irie X offers a smoother style and handles most of the singing on the record. Even as Cataraps aims to be progressive in its style, the deep influence of the 90s boom-bap sound marks the duo’s rapping. The record, as a result, comes off as a unique blending of the old with the modern, the familiar with the fresh.
Though the tracks on album are connected by Akoko’s theme of reckless fun and braggadocio, the record is diverse enough to provide something for every type of listener. The title track is perhaps the catchiest and most melodic of the bunch, presenting us Sugg Savage hopping from talking about hipsters in Cosby sweaters, to men who are insanely competitive about petty things, to being worried about her student loans. While Dogma (The Sparrow) summons a strong reggae vibe, Broken Bread is a soulful, mellow rap ballad. Blair Witch Project, meanwhile, reminds of Tyler The Creator with its dark, abrasive beat.
Favorite Tracks: Cataraps, Broken Bread, Double Dutch, Royal Flush
1. A++ 04:10
2. Broken Bread 04:25
3. Cataraps 03:22
4. Deadly Venom 04:12
5. Dogma (The Sparrow) 02:50
6. Double Dutch 03:19
7. No Offer 03:28
8. Nothing Changed ft. Obii Say 03:42
9. Occupy 01:45
10. Royal Flush 03:19
11. The Blair Witch Project 02:34
12. The Yeah 01:24
13. Thee Hipokolypse (Yuko) ft. Sir E.U 02:51
14. Wasted 03:57
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