With Chicago Hip Hop
blossoming as of late, it’s only natural that underground mainstays The Molemen should get a little of the
spotlight. Since the release of the Below
The Ground
EP in 1997, the production trio has stayed busy providing
backdrops for some of the dopest in the game. With collaborations spanning
coast to coast and everywhere in between it should be no surprise that Killing Fields features a cast of emcees
as varied as any you’ve likely seen. And although they bring cats with many
different styles and varied content, Panik,
Memo and PNS handle all the production, which brings this together as an
album very nicely.

Things kick off with a bang
as Cormega and Hostyle (formerly of Screwball)
kick street rhymes over the synthed out anthem of “Street Conflict.” While both
of the aforementioned emcees are definitely vets with a lot of credibility, a
couple songs later a straight up legend makes and appearance on “Full Metal
Jacket,” as Kool G Rap spits a verse
so incredible it would be an injustice to quote just part of it. Not to be
outdone, Mass Hysteria, who also
appear on the track, bring their “A” game as well rounding this out as one of
the better joints on an already very dope album. There is also a slew of joints
by Chicago
artists including the aforementioned Mass
, Juice, Vakill and the ultra-talented Rhymefest, who previously worked with
the Molemen back in ’98 .

The “New York Mixtape”
cross-section of Hip Hop is also represented through the gutter rhymes of Saigon and Grafh. Littles and Poison Pen
also represent for the Big Apple on “QB2BK,” where piercing horns serve as the
driving force behind the track. Another highlight is the up-tempo “My Alien
Girlfriend,” featuring Felt (Slug and Murs). This funky little number is augmented by some dirty breaks
and conceptual lyrics about the advantages of a girlfriend who is (literally)
out of this world. However, Slug is
not the only Rhymesayer on this
record as Brother Ali also comes
though to destroy a track called “Life Sentence.” Starting with a blistering
opener Ali shows no signs of slowing up throughout the entire piano infused
tracks taking lazy emcees to task with lyrics like “seem to me most these dudes are car poolin’ / one of ya’ll do something
new then you all do it / havin déjà vu they enjoy something’ Jay-Z do then sample it or say it too

Most albums have at least a
few missteps, and although consistently nice, this album does stumble a couple
times. The most notable is “One Shot, One Kill,” a really mixtape-sounding
joint featuring Mike Treese (of Mass Hysteria), who spits battle lyrics
over an incredibly generic synth beat. Luckily, that particular joint only
clocks in at 1:36. In the end, this album is helped a lot by the interlude
instrumentals “Up To Par,” “Vague Ultimatum” and “Love Kills War,” done by Panik, Memo and PNS
respectively. These interludes serve as a great way to dividing the album so
that you get a little bit of everything in between. Choosing a best song would
be nearly impossible on this album due to the variety of styles, and this
diversity also helps this record appeal to audiences mainstream as well as
subterranean. Killing Fields is a
perfect name for this album, both for it’s plethora of battle-ready rhymes and
as a metaphor for the tracks said rhymes are spit over.