Canibus may end up being remembered for a lot more than his lyrical dexterity. After all, his many feuds have been publicized to the point of exhaustion, his career sidelined by a much talked about move to the military and his albums largely panned by critics and left on store shelves by fans. By 2010, the emcee is seen as a recluse, a far cry from the budding Rap sensation he was in the late ’90s. In an effort to change that legacy, a move to bring attention back to the rhymes, he has decided to release Melatonin Magik, which his cult-like following has anticipated for some time.
Lyrically, Canibus has often been both recognized and chastised. He’s a lyricist who pens skillful verses but he’s also been criticized for his use of scientific terminology. Melatonin Magik is not very different in that it is filled with impressive rhymes but also packed with cerebral content, something he says he does “for Hip Hop.” He’s focused on showcasing his skills and letting the world know what’s got him frustrated and upset, Madd Rapper style. “I’m a mastermind trying to amplify the frequency of the rhyme so I can learn to fly / So, yeah, fuck a punhline, I’m past that prime. That’s not a crime, so go find somebody else to dickride.” This aggravation, augmented by his trademark gritty vocals, informs his dissection of the media on “Dragon of Judah” and again on “Dead by Design.” Later, this is rehashed on other tracks including “Kriminal Kindness” and “Gold & Bronze Magik.” For all of this rage, he is wonderfully accompanied by a mixture of mellow beats and strong instrumentals, though the low budget cost of the final product is quite evident.
For all of its skillful glare, there are aspects of Magik that dull this quality. For instance, in a surprising move, he calls to an end to Rap beef as “aimless entertainment” only to reignite his beef with Eminem a few minutes later on “Air Strike (Pop Killer)” . The beef doesn’t stop there. KRS-One also receives some shots on the piano laden “Kriminal Kindness.” The Em and KRS tracks coupled with allusions to aliens, other “paranoid statements,” the rehashing of topics and an abundance of guest slots make this album lose much of its luster.
But, one must also keep in mind that little more is expected of Canibus at this point. Melatonin Magik is his honest view of the world around him, his observation report. Human in nature, there is some inconsistency there, but it’s ‘Bis. He delivers excellent rhyme schemes, thought provoking references and thoughtful insight into his mind. He no longer has to live up to what the world wants from him, like he was expected to back when he rhymed alongside Wyclef Jean. Though new fans may not flock to the album, he simply delivers want he wants and longtime fans will be delighted with the outcome.