There haven’t been too many careers more disappointing than that of Germaine
Williams. As talented a lyricist as they come, Bis has
struggled from day one to make listenable albums; be it from his inability to
pick beats or rhyming about things with zero relevance to anything.
If someone told me to make an educated guess as to how Canibus
came up with his rhyming style, it would be this: Canibus went
to his local library, blindfolded himself, and proceeded to pick random books
from the shelves. After about half an hour of doing so, he took his blindfold
off, and observed the selections he had made: A dictionary, a thesaurus, a Dr.
Seuss book (for the rhyme scheme), an X-Men
comic book, and texts on the following subjects: mythologies of the world,
astrology, alchemy, game theory, martial arts, medieval and modern weaponry,
complex football formations, space exploration, and discrete mathematics. He
then threw these subjects together with all the subtlety of a rabid grizzly
bear trapped in a medium-sized classroom filled with five year olds.
When people talk about Canibus, they talk lyrics – so let’s
talk lyrics. Look, if I walk up to you on the street, blabbing about the
complexities of space travel; will you automatically believe that I’m an
astrophysicist? No? So does rapping almost exclusively about Space Vikings and
Chaos Theory make Canibus a complex lyricist? Hell no! Just
because someone can’t understand you, doesn’t make you complex: “Since the
beginning/The Law of three, the law of seven/Unquestioned the principle or
scale of Heaven/Law one through forty-eight, law forty-nine/Is the loophole I
used to escape/Buy the album, get a fifty dollar rebate before it’s too late.”
His battle raps a decade ago were far more intricate.
The “law of 3” and “law of 7” are actual concepts. They’re part of cosmic
theory. Another possibility is that ‘Bis used 3 and 7 because
they’re significant numbers in numerous belief systems (such as Christianity),
and therefore are easily recognizable. The rest though, is complete rubbish.
There is no “law 49.” It doesn’t hold any significance. The reason lines like
these are used throughout the entirety of this and nearly every Canibus
album is to trick the listener into thinking that he is deep.
Fortunately, it isn’t all bad, as Canibus manages
to say something interesting and meaningful at times: “I was spiritual
first/She cut my umbilical/At the physical birth/And welcomed me to miserable
earth/Why does it hurt? She laid me on my back in the dirt/And covered my girth
with a dirty shirt/What could be worse/She said ‘God bless the dead, but they
got it easy’/The living get left behind but still can’t live they life
completely/Tough luck, before I was about to give up/I passed out emotionally
Enough with the lyrics, what about the emceeing itself? Energy-wise, ‘Bis
sounds the most awake I’ve heard him since Rip the Jacker.
Nonsensical subject matter or not, he attacks the mic with an admirable
ferocity. Unfortunately, he does the same exact thing when talking about sex on
which makes for an extremely awkward song. “Secrets Amongst Cosmonauts” is a prime
example of creativity being used in an appreciable manner, as Canibus tells
a tale of an alien race that laments humankind’s destructive nature (though
someone should tell dude that a cosmonaut is a Soviet astronaut, not an alien).
The musical backdrop isn’t really worth mentioning. It fits Canibus’
persona, so in that sense it succeeds, though none of it is particularly
engaging. Rather, the big “deal” about this album, “Poet Laureate Infinity,” is a
very interesting concept. Like the great Reverend Cappa said, “What Canibus
is doing is truly an extraordinary display of artistic ability. This type of
thing should be celebrated.“ Indeed it should, as ‘Bis raps for a
mind-boggling 11+ minutes on two versions of the song (there were five made,
only two are on the album). The song is “layered” in the sense that you can
switch off one version, and play the other at a given point in the song, and it
will rhyme. I suggest visiting http://www.poetlaureateinfinity.com/
for the full experience. This is undoubtedly the highlight of the album.
In the song “Harbinger
of Light,” Canibus spits “Without balance, I’m
destined to fall.” Indeed that is true. While this is a step up from his
previous album, ‘Bis achieves little of said balance in For
Whom the Beat Tolls – at the expense of his music.