Saturday, December 3, 2016

MC Overlord - A Better Funk

Donnell Robinson, better known as MC Overlord, is an artist that represents from the appalling streets of Austin, TX. Although he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, he moved to Austin, Texas in 1987 and has resided there ever since. A veteran in the underground rap scene, Overlord has been around since the early nineties and is still active today. He is considered by many to be a pioneer in the vast city of Austin and is appropriately dubbed as "The Godfather of ATX Hip Hop." He is known for performing with live instruments and creating a genre defying atmosphere with the congenial mix of thought provoking lyrics over awe inspiring rhythms. His love for music runs deep since he was brought up on the genre of Funk & Soul. It wasn't until his teenage years where he eventually developed a taste for Hip Hop. He would rap for fun at his local high school and could freestyle of the top of his head for hours on end. While attending Austin Community College, he made an overwhelming decision. Instead of pursuing a degree from the acclaimed school, he would turn his past time hobby into a full time career. He decided to become a rapper and soon dropped out of school altogether. A Better Funk is his second album and it was released in 1995 on Lordship Records. The record is beautifully produced by DJ Cassanova, Charlie Redd, Micheal Hale, David Garza and Ter'ell Shahid. Together, they incorporate the use of live instruments into each and every track. Everything from percussion instruments to various guitars, keyboards and even saxophones are used to their ultimate apex. The beats are crafted from the ground up and are a treat to listen to. A couple of them are sample driven but the rest are all as original as can be. The record is also strong in the lyrical department. MC Overlord's powerful rhymes include a steady dose of word play and his burly tone delivers each line with precision. His subject matter is also diverse because it touches on various topics such as race, unity, equality, community and other compelling ideas that affect humanity as a whole. He indulges the listener from the very first track and keeps them hooked till the last. The album closes out at a humble total of eleven tracks which are all equally entertaining. Guest appearances are made by Dee, Ter'ell Shahid, Dah-Veed, Smooth Nelson and Charlie Redd. It is certainly not easy to record with live instruments which is why most producers stick to an electronic drum machine to provide different sounds. Overlord's unorthodox approach which involves live instruments is extremely thought out. The musicians provide an impressive foundation for the artist to freely express himself. In return, the emcee excels on the microphone and makes sure that their efforts are not wasted. This is an excellent work of art that has the unique ability to reach individuals on a conscious level. The album did not get any mainstream attention or appreciation but it gets plenty of love and respect from the deep vaults of the underground.

Deadly Verses
Put 'Em Up (Rasta Mix) ft. Dee

Deadly Video

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