Thursday, November 06, 2008 | Posted in ,,

Following on from his solo debut, The Rubber Room Diary, cRITICAL - one half of Critical Madness - brings us his latest offering, Medical Records. With rhyming as on point as it ever was but with a more refined delivery, we are given insight in to the workings of this Brooklyn rapper's mind. cRITICAL delivers his first single off the album entitled Remember, with Behind The Speaker and Medical Records as B-side. Marked with a stamp of approval from FatBeats and guest appearances by the likes TZariZM, Little Vic, Butta Verses, Thirstin Howl III, Jise (of the Arsonists), IDE and Midaz The Beast, this is one album not to be missed. It's available for purchase in-store at FatBeats as well as from the website, and now at

Given that his first solo LP, Rubber Room Diaries was largely slept on, most would know cRITICAL as one half of Critical Madness; a duo who continue to prove themselves both on the battle circuit and on wax. Raised in Florida, now returned to his hometown, Brooklyn, NY, and with major backing from FatBeats distribution, cRITICAL delivers his latest album, Medical Records.

Reality’s Strange is the first full track and is the perfect joint to kick off the album as cRITICAL’s passionate delivery forces you to listen up. “Peep my status, cRITICAL’s a beast and savage; My flow is protein, spitting out amino acid; Conceited bastard, ho’s say I need some manners; I’m kicking game if they’re frame’s thicker than some emo glasses; I freak the tactics, take you to a special place; So you can stencil trace the mind of a mental case; Might catch a case if there’s a million at stake; Fill up my safe, disappear like a prison escape…”

This is a more up close and personal view into his mind as he rhymes about his influences (on the wonderfully retrospective single, Remember: “…The brightest bulb but ironically I hate school; Only went to bag chics and show off my suede shoes; Instead we drank brews and plotted on our debut..."), his daily observations (like riding the train over a twisted beat with Savage Messiah and Thirstin Howl III on Iron Horse) and inner contemplations as he spits over a chilled-out reversed melody on the title track, Medical Records, “Philosophies are deep, sometimes my mind is so steeped; In a world of cloned sheep, cRIT gets no sleep; Groggy in the morning, my eyes got black circle marks; Verbal arts, shaving syllables and picking words apart; Got purple hearts from rhyme battles plus I time travel; Guys babble, behind shadows ducking live ammo; Dimes straddle speakers when cRITICAL’s behind it; Criminal-minded from violence, a cynical tyrant…”.

Perspective is one of my favourite joints on the album, the boom-boom bass will blow your speakers and crack your neck! TZariZM, also behind the boards on this one, delivers his lines impeccably and is stand-out, and the two toss verses back and forth over the energetic beat. On Whatcha Say, accompanied by Little Vic, cRIT rhymes over dope cuts and production courtesy of Orena Record’s in-house production team, Double Shot. The fact that cRITICAL’s style is actually very well suited to this type of production should have you looking forward to their upcoming collaboration, Hidden Agenda.

Behind The Speaker is my type of shit. CRIT’s rhyming gets progressively more passionate over a relentless IDE beat that, aside from a bassline change on the hook, stays incessant throughout (think Soulstice‘s ‘Can‘t Front‘ or Brother Ali‘s ‘Whatever‘ and you‘ll know what type of beat I mean). “Who was the kid with the walkman, disgustingly handsome; The same man with the ipod that shuffles at random; Catch a rush when the snare comes; Erupting with tantrums; Percussions and mad drums; Like a slug from a hand gun; Don’t fuck with the phantom; On your rooftop like Casey Jones; Slaying clones, up in the lab, You’ll find me staying home; Twisting Hen rock while I’m chewing on pen tops; Scattered words on the page, I piece and connect dots…”

One of my album highlights is cRIT’s first verse on Class In Session where he bursts onto the track spitting a dope rhyme scheme at a perfect tempo, “I spit to vent my brain scars; Implement and take charge; Bics and pencils scrape hard; Dig through mental graveyards; My wits can bench like eight cars; Equipped to fence your lame squad; Too sick to get a plain job; Let’s get this rent and make wads”. Production is provided by the UK’s very own DJ Kryptonite - who incidentally handles a third of Medical Records - and features a hypnotic horned loop that is slow but almost anthem-like which then disappears as the beat breaks down to a more soulful vibe with a sweet vocal and could be a whole other track in itself. Good shit.

If you peep the hyped Lightz Out, you’ll see that it has a different vibe to the rest of the album. It is very much more in the style of ’Critical Madness’ in terms of subject and beat which is provided by Finding The Plot’s main beatmaker, Tempermental, and, in fact features Madness (as well as Butta Verses).

I have already had this discussion with That Realness visitors prior to the release of Medical Records so I’ll just re-iterate what I said. It’s important to differentiate between cRITICAL as a part of Critical Madness and cRITICAL as solo artist because what you receive as a listener are two completely different experiences. As a group, you have two young men relaying tales of wiling out, getting drunk and smashing chics. That type of subject matter is simply not a platform on which any emcee, no matter how dope, can shine. But this is the beauty of Hip Hop; artists and their joints can be dope for different kinds of reasons, whether it’s the beat that ‘makes’ the track, or the emcee’s rhyming blows you away, or the rhymes ain’t special but the subject touches you, or you’re on your way out to party and you want music to get you hyped. When I look at my favourite emcees, I like them all for very different reasons.

Medical Records is not another ‘Finding The Plot’ minus Madness, but features it’s own sound and style, with a different stamp of production and, on it’s own merits, is a record on which cRITICAL proves himself to be a talented lyricist and tackles issues not fitting for his group work. Somebody commented that the album was dope, although cRIT’s delivery doesn’t vary on the album. However I think that if you take each track individually, his delivery is appropriate for every song on there and I was so hooked on the rhyming that that didn’t even occur to me except perhaps on Permanent Discussion. There is actually no weak track on the record. Dope beats and cRITICAL attacks every bar with passion and energy and in terms of lyrical capability, you will be impressed. Already renowned as a freestyler (youtube is your friend), a veteran battler (WRC and more), a team player (Critical Madness), he now demonstrates that there is an intelligent and talented emcee at the foundation. One who doesn’t just excel in one area (e.g. raps on wax but can’t battle for shit), but takes this one Hip Hop element that is MCing and tackles every aspect of it proving that there are artists out there who really can do it all. As the man himself says, “Everything that I talk got u forced to rewind”. COP IT!

Listen to Remember HERE!!!

Listen to Behind The Speaker HERE!!!

Listen to Medical Records HERE!!!

Listen to snippets of all the tracks and purchase the CD HERE!!!