(East Rock Entertainment)
Alpha Faktion is an upstate NY trio, comprised of rapper/producer Azwun, rapper Kraze ILLA, and DJ Enyoutee. Here the Faktion recruits from producers, Ayatollah, DJ Raz, DJ Skizz, Marco Polo, Marley Marl, Nottz, Supreme Da Almighty and more. “Creative Control” was single in 2016, but here we get a full album, Creative Control, following up there 2013 debut EP, Truth, Lies, and Audiotape. While each track has the tone of perseverance, the dark tones that link them propagates the stormy cloud feel. The darkness is Alpha’s Faktion strength.
“Stand Up” is a fiery opener to rile up any audience miring in economic and political frustration. “We spit that positive music for poverty kids/ Hope the day the album drops it feel like a lottery win,” goes the lyric. The joint starts with a slow computer pattern as the other elements gradually build, the anticipation builds. The MPC is hard at work. Then the slow, pitched down sample of House of Pain, from “Jump Around”, drops. Alpha Faktion take an inane party anthem into a revolutionary call. “Get up, stand up – c’mon put your hands up”. Hell of a track produced by DJ Raz.
“Price Tags” follows with refreshing beat, reminiscent of DITC type from Vherbal. The verbal dexterity also is unleashed. Many more complex sentence structures and multis are spit quickly. Scratches and samples punctuate a track with a fire hook.
“The Real Truth” illustrates a somber atmosphere. The beat is stacked with a dreamy vocal sample (“Real Truth”) bandying with a snapping snare, punching bass and sweeping strings. The smooth flow of the great Planet Asia adds the gravity to Azwun and Kraze. Other guests on this include Skanks, Zagnif Nori, Dready Kruger; prod. by Ayatollah. “Move back comes with the next haymaker, the spaced out vibe with a panning pitch trajectory swirls through headphones while bass and drums bang hard. The attitude of the ferocious flows with “Get your ass out the chair/ what you like we don’t care/ you feel the kick in the snare- give you that boom bap”. And while they hard on the mic, this just isn’t about their persona. The second verse addresses: “stress, heartache, paranoia, divorce rate, drug addiction; prescription pharmaceuticals force weight.”
As Alpha Faktion moves into the second half of their fifteen track odyssey, the gritty presence is elevated on the first single, “System Shutdown”. The catchy banger is classic Marco Polo and will have your head nodding. “The Shining” is a slow haunting track, returning to the dark feeling of the album. Reflecting on veterans and depression and how the world impacts their writing, the lyrics illustrate the Faktion’s cynical inspirations on this Vherbal beat. DJ Skizz uses a creepy violin swoon in his beat; accented by rolling drums, a bass pluck and enchanting bells, mixed low. Nottz gives us a bumping beat on the title track, the piano highlights the MPC created rhythm. Alpha Faktion explains their motivation and how they nurture integrity with their DIY ethic. How else would you end an album than with a Marley Marl joint, in this case, “The Lineage” The Faktion’s lyrics blaze up again, anger, fire and skills perpetuate paragraphs of tricky lines and mad bars. A fluttering string section with hand claps and piano will get that cypher flowing.
Alpha Faktion’s collection of top notch production showcase their cred and their talent. Creative Control shows a crew dedicated to the art and a code. This is a dark, serious album. The mood of the beats echo that. Balanced flows of skills and premonitions will ensure repeated listening. Guest spots flatter but do not overwhelm the album. AF bring it here.
RIYL: The Perceptionists, Beat Bruisers, Barrel Brothers, El De Sensei, Beneficence, Truth, NBS, DJ JS-1 comps