"The Kitchen" is the third studio album from California hip-hop collective Hieroglyphics. The album features production from Del The Funky Homosapien, Guilty Duckets, Opio, Unjust, A-Plus, Phesto Dee and Stephen King, as well as scratches by The Sleeprockers. It was released on July 16, 2013 via Hieroglyphics Imperium.
1) The Kitchen Intro - Skit
2) Livin' It Up - The first track on the album is produced by Del the Funky Homosapian and its pretty dope. The beat almost has a marching band feel to it, with some lively horns and bass drums. Del sets it off first with Opio, Tajai, Pep Love, and A-Plus following while The Sleeprockers contribute some ill scratching during the chorus. Everyone is just having a good time on here and rapping about how they only have one life so they are livin it to its fullest. This is dope and is a nice way kick off the groups first studio album since 2003's "Full Circle."
3) The Mayor - The beat on this track, by Guilty Duckets, has a mellow guitar loop with some keyboards and triumphant horns during the chorus. Pep Love, Tajai, and Casual spit some braggadocio bars about how Hieroglyphics are the shit. I'd have to agree with them. Another dope song.
4) Golden - Del the Funky Homosapian returns on the production tip with a crazy chopped up guitar loop with some layered synth organs and mid-tempo drums. Del, Tajai, Opio, A-Plus and Pep Love all rip it and rhyme about how Hiero's style is unique and cannot be replicated. Del sets it off with the chorus:
"Just like the tombs in EgyptI'm feelin the old-school vibe to this track. Nice.
Soon as you see it, you'll be speechless
No jive when we slide through
We gonna provide you, with somethin' to ride too
5) Gun Fever - This was the first single released from the album and it's pretty ill. The beat is by Guilty Duckets and has some distorted vocal samples, resonant synths, horns and funky drums. Lyrically the group spits about guns and gun violence while making sure to point out that they are not promoting either of those, they are simply trying to speak on the topic and get others talking about it as well. Pep Love, Tajai, Casual and Del all sound great, but I think A-Plus has the standout verse. Dope track.
6) Indonesia - Opio comes through with a peculiar instrumental that has a strange, out-of-this-world vibe to it. It's got some light piano keys underneath a layer of synths that give it a spacey feel. Its weird, but it works. Pep Love, Opio, Del and Tajai all come correct and spit some rhymes about space, weed and everything in between. The track closes out with some dope scratches by The Sleepwalkers. This is pretty good, but not my favorite track on here so far.
7) wShores Galore - The beat on this song, also courtesy of Opio, reminds me somewhat of the track "Halo" off of Hiero's "Full Circle" album. It's got a lighthearted, carefree feel to it like I'm on vacation on a tropical island somewhere. Opio spits a quick verse after which The Sleeprockers come in and chop it up a bit before Phesto closes the track out. This is nice. Too bad it's so short.
8) That Merch - This instrumental on this song is by Unjust, who handled most of the production duties on Pep Love and Opio's collaboration album "Fallacy Fantasy". The beat is ill and has some ambient synths and what sounds like a xylophone over head-nodding drums. This song is a Pep Love solo track and he rips it, as always. Pep Love is definitely one of the most slept on lyricists in the rap industry. He has been ripping mics for years and never really got his shine as much as he should have. Anyways, this song is really ill.
9) Nutrition - This track is more of an interlude than a full song, with each emcee spitting only a few lines and trading off bars with one another over a funky Opio instrumental. This is ok, but it doesn't really add much to the album in my opinion.
10) Indonesia Interlude (Sleeprockers Edit) - Another interlude, this time with The Sleeprockers scratching and re-working Opio's "Indonesia" track. Like the previous song, this seems kind of pointless to me, especially since its just over 30 seconds long. I'd rather of had them replace these last two tracks with a full song. Oh well.
11) Highway Five - This song starts off with some crazy scratching by The Sleeprockers that sounds really dope. The beat, provided by Opio, has a chill West Coast feel to it that's got my head nodding a bit. Phesto, Casual, Opio and Tajai all rip it while Pep Love comes in at the way end for a quick verse. This is fire.
12) All As Above So Below - The beat on this track, also by Opio, features a nice little vocal sample with a throwback feel to it and some xylophones over mellow drums. Casual, Opio and Pep Love all sound pretty good on here and spit some story verses. This is pretty smooth. Nice.
13) Nano Salt - This is the last song in the five track run of Opio produced tracks. The beat is energetic, with some prominent synths and upbeat horns. Opio sets it off first with Tajai, Casual, Del and Phesto D coming after. The beat is funky and all the emcees come correct, but this isn't a standout track for me. It's good, but there are better tracks on here in my opinion.
14) Immortals - The beat on this track is by A-Plus, who has always been one of my favorite Hiero producers. The beat is banging, with a smooth guitar and some rolling drums that'll get your head nodding a bit. A-Plus, Pep Love, Tajai and Del all spit some braggadocio verses before the beat rides out for another minute and a half or so. I'm feelin this shit.
15) Exciting - Phesto D comes through with his lone production credit on the album. The beat is a keyboard-and-synth-heavy instrumental that's quite dope. Opio, Phesto D, Casual, Tajai and Pep Love all come correct lyrically, but I think Tajai spit the hardest:
"Equipped with a spit that I flip like a brickI wasn't feelin this song too much on my first few listens, but it definitely grew on me. Dope shit.
Serve'm superb with them verbs from the curb
You nervous you herbs? Don't be scurred, they just words
Cept when they jet from my neck, that's your death
I rep for the set, a collective of vets
Check all bets, we collect niggas heads
Mess with the best and you get what you get
I rush for the lust when I fuck niggas up"
16) It's Partly Me - The beat on this track, by Opio, has a lighthearted, playful feel to it with prominent female vocals over some mid-tempo drums. I think the beat would have been better if the vocals were only on the chorus instead of throughout the entire song. Regardless, Opio, A-Plus, Pep Love and Casual all come through to do their thing. This is just ok for me though since I end up focusing more on the background vocals than on the lyrics for some reason. Oh well.
17) Passing Fads - The final song on the album, produced by Steven King, has a funky instrumental with a chopped up sample that includes a vocal loop and low-key, muffled guitars. Pep Love, Tajai and Phesto rap about how fads come and go but Hieroglyphics is still puttin' it down after all these years. Very dope.
I'm going to rate the album
3.75 / 5
because its pretty damn good. There are a few missteps here or there, but nothing that majorly detracts from the album. The beats are dope throughout, which is sometimes a problem spot for Hieroglyphics releases after their first string of solo albums (there are exceptions of course). Lyrically these guys have never fallen off and each emcee brings their own unique styles and charisma to the table. I'd definitely recommend this album for any HieroHead and to any hip-hop fan in general.