June Marx - Eve of Victory (Review)

June Marx - Eve of Victory (Essence of Hip-Hop)

 "Eve of Victory" is the latest album from Brooklyn hip-hop artist June Marx. The album features guest appearances from Godilla, Juncalssic, Resolute and Lone Ninja and is fully produced by June Marx himself. It was released on June 8th, 2014 via TorchBearer Records.

1) Gotham - The first song on the album starts off with a quick sample from "The Book of Eli" before the beat hits and June Marx starts spitting. The instrumental is banging and has a cinematic feel to it, with a chopped up sample mainly comprised of some strings, piano keys and the occasional vocal loop over boom-bap drums. Lyrically the song is just as good as the beat, with June Marx describing the city he comes from as the "city of the lost and the forgotten" while setting the darker tone for the rest of the album. Very nice. - 4.25/5

2) Phantom - This is the only song from the project to receive a video so far and it's definitely a banger. The track finds The Marxman spitting some futuristic rhymes full of references to the movie "Blade Runner", cyborgs, and Weapon X over a head nodding instrumental with a subtle sped up guitar and vocal loop. I'm really feelin' this one. - 4.5/5

3) Underworld - June Marx raps about America's darker side of sex, drugs and violence over another beautiful instrumental full of soaring strings and melancholy pianos. The beat is real nice and June sounds great over it, kicking rhymes full of vivid imagery that help to paint a bleak picture of the city in your mind. The way he sets off the first verse is real dope as he spits
"I build with Father Time, sit with Mother Nature
Spoke with Ms. America, she in love with the paper"
Very nice. - 4.25/5

4) Merciless - The beat on this track features a distorted sample with a sort of mystic feel to it that is then looped up over stomping drums. As far as the rhymes go, June Marx flows nicely over the beat and kicks some boastful bars about his mic skills as well as about being an independent artist in the hip-hop game. Dope. - 4/5

5) Lock Picker - This song has a darker vibe to it, with pulsing keys, atmospheric synths and samples from "The Matrix Reloaded" interspersed throughout the track. Lyrically the song is just as good as the beat, with The Marxman kicking more braggadocios rhymes while incorporating some key/master lock references that match up with the Matrix sample. Nice. - 4/5

6) Quarantine - The beat on this track sounds like something I would have expected to hear on a Killarmy album back in the day, which is a great thing since 4th Disciple is one of my top producers of all time. The instrumental is fire and June Marx rips it, rapping about being caught up in the "quarantine" of New York City. This ones a banger. - 5/5

7) Pulse - June Marx slows down his flow a tad over a dreary sample looped up over pounding drums. The beat and rhymes on here are dope, but I'm not really feelin the vocal sample on chorus as much as the rest of the track. Still, not bad by any means. - 3.5/5

8) Training Camp - This cut features June Marx going off over another cinematic string and horn sample looped up over a funky bass riff. Lyrically the song is a little better than the beat in my opinion, with June rapping about how he has been training for years to be the champ in this hip-hop shit while incorporating a ton of boxing references into his rhymes. Nice. - 3.75/5

9) Midnight Syndicate - The beat on this track returns to the darker roots of the album, with The Marxman delivering an ominous instrumental with a splash of piano keys over a guitar lick and lively drums. Lyrically the song is darker as well, with June Marx kicking some more graphic rhymes in his unique blend of complex wordplay and laid-back flow. - 4/5

10) Smoking Barrels (featuring Godilla, Junclassic and Resolute) - June Marx teams up with Godilla, Junclassic and Resolute (who just dropped a pretty dope album a few weeks ago) over another distorted guitar loop. The beat hits pretty hard and everyone comes correct over it, with all four emcees spitting rhymes full of Wild West references. - 3.75/5

11) NightFall - After a brief hiatus into the Old West, June Marx returns with another instrumental that sounds like night itself, with foreboding strings over boom-bap drums. As far as the rhymes go, June keeps with the gloomy feel of the beat and kicks rhymes full of ominous references that sound like they are straight out of a nightmare. Dope shit. - 4.25/5

12) Lamp of Knowledge - This track finds The Marxmen dropping jewels coupled with street rhymes over slightly distorted keys and strings. The beat is dope and June sounds great over it as he spits
"My aura is my armor through the dark night
That will keep me guarded when the archers are beyond sight
The calm type, glass full of residue
Ambulances passing, flashing the red and blue
Lives lost, the tasks are identical
Scribe lost chapters of my past cuz they memorable
Pen calligraphy, pen it religiously
This exceptional, technical wizardry
I breast stroke effortless through the misery
When Death spoke sentences few can live to see" 
Too bad this is so short because I'm really feelin' it. - 3.75/5

13) Devils & Angels - This cut has one of the more energetic instrumentals so far, with solemn violins and strings over upbeat drums that should get you nodding your head. As far as the rhymes go, June Marx comes through and kicks some bars full of religious references while bragging about how dope he is and such. Nice. - 4/5

14) Journey - June Marx lays out the necessary steps of his journey through life over a crazy instrumental with layers of guitars, ambient strings and interesting percussion. The beat is fire and June rips it, making this track another of the albums standouts for me. - 4.5/5

15) Capital Wasteland (featuring Lone Ninja) - The song finds June Marx teaming up with fellow Twin Perils member Lone Ninja over a beautiful instrumental with soft piano keys, strings and boom-bap drums. I've always preferred June over Lone Ninja, but he sounds pretty good on here as well. Dope track. - 3.75/5

16) Faces of Death - The Marxman spits some violent and aggressive battle raps over a militant instrumental with blaring horns and stomping drums. It's not my favorite song on here, but it's still pretty dope. - 3/5

17) Sunken Treasures - I've heard the sample on this cut used quite a few times in the past and have always been a big fan of it. The beat is hypnotizing, with swirling strings and an angelic vocal sample, and June Marx rips it, dropping more gems while filling his rhymes with esoteric references. - 4.25/5

18) Galileo's Understanding - Well damn. The instrumental on this song is probably my favorite on the album so far, with a dreamy sample layered over subtle, shuffling drums. The beat reminds me somewhat of "LifeStream" off of "Seven Trumpets Sound" and the lyrics do the same, with June Marx kicking some deeper rhymes referencing space and the cosmos. I've always been a sucker for songs like this. - 5/5

19) Halo Jump - June Marx spits more militaristic battle raps over a gritty piano loop with pounding drums. Shits sounds fresh though and doesn't come across as a rehash of previous songs. - 3.5/5

20) Entrapment - This track features June Marx rapping about loving hip-hop and hating how others abuse it (among other things) over a subdued instrumental with a gloomy backing sample and boom-bap drums. It's not my favorite song on here, but it's still pretty dope. - 3/5

21) Scarlet - This cut finds The Marxman spitting some story raps about a woman who always dreamed about living that extravagant life that was always just out of her reach. The beat is pretty good and the rhymes are a nice change from the battle raps of the past few songs. - 3/5

22) Elder Scrolls - June Marx spits more esoteric rhymes while making a ton of references to Bethesda's "Elder Scrolls" video games. The beat is beautiful, with falling flutes, mystic strings and boom-bap drums, and June rips it, as should be expected by now. Very dope track. - 4.25/5

23) Cloud District - This song finds June Marx kicking some more personal rhymes over a murky instrumental with a sort of gloomy feel to it. I'm really feelin' the introspective rhymes and the overall sullen vibe of the beat. Dope shit. - 4/5

24) Eve of Victory - The albums title track features June kicking more vivid rhymes full of military references and cryptic slang over a gritty, yet cinematic instrumental. The beat is banging and Marx rips it. Very nice. - 4/5

25) Gotham v1.5 (Bonus Track) - This track is just a remix of the first song, utilizing the same lyrics over a different beat. I'm not feelin' this version quite as much as the other one, however, but it's not bad. - 3/5

I'm going to rate the album

4 / 5

because its definitely a banger. It seems like June Marx steps his production game up a little with each release and this project is no exception. Many of the beats on here are fire, with only a few of them not hitting me quite as hard as the others. Lyrically June is about the same as he always has been, kicking futuristic battle raps full of military and esoteric references. The Wu-Tang-esque feel of the beats and rhymes harken back to the golden era of hip-hop while still managing to sound fresh at the same time. If you are a fan of June's previous work or just a fan of dark, atmospheric hip-hop then you are going to love the album. Peep the full project over on June Marx's bandcamp site or send an email over to Naomihuntermarxproducts@gmail for a physical copy. Don't sleep on this one.


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