From electric B-Boy crews who emulate the moves of the Bronx pioneers, talented graf artists who bomb the subways (Beat Street-style) and rabid music fans that support underground rappers who feel unappreciated in their own country, Europe has always embraced the subculture of Hip Hop with honor, dignity and respect. On the other hand, when it comes to authentic Rap music being made overseas, Americans are too quick to dismiss European emcees, deejays and producers as being nothing more than mere novelty acts.
Snowgoons, the German production duo of Det and DJ Illegal, plan on changing this misconception once and for all with Black Snow, a compilation of bangers featuring a bevy of thug-minded East Coast rappers. Their sophomore album features the fine lyricism of relatively new and old emcees, from Edo G. and Smif-N-Wessun [click to read] to the Boom Bap Project and Supastition.
Although born and bred outside of the U.S., it’s more than obvious that Det and DJ Illegal are die-hard champions of East Coast Rap, particularly the kind that is neither “positive” minded nor commercially viable.On Black Snow, the Snowgoons pepper their brand of east coast thug music with plenty of ominous orchestral samples and slow hitting drums. For example, the title track (i.e., “Black Snow”) is a marvelous example of their approach to making contemporary Jeep Music – a deadly concoction of no holds-barred rapping and heavy beats. La Coka Nostra-affiliate Ill Bill [click to read] and Demigodz emcee Apathy [click to read] pull no verbal punches as they trade verses that mix death and metaphor over the ‘Goons’ mafia-influenced music.
Other standout tracks on the album boast the same level of thug energy and passion for keeping it hood. On “Serve Justice,” Killah Priest [click to read] returns to perfect form and blazes the track (along with the aide of Rasul Allah and Richard Raw), providing the necessary amount of intelligence and swagger to the chopped-up strings and clever vocal samples. Last but not least, “Casualties of War” (featuring Smif-N-Wessun and Respect Tha God) is a nice throwback to late ’90s underground east coast jams, as the Duck Down rappers discuss the politics of war over a chilling Opera voice, bird shrills and pounding drums.
However, there are a few tracks that should have been omitted from Det and DJ Illegal‘s second album. Take, for example, “Avalanche Warning.” This song sounds nearly identical to other joints on the Black Snow, albeit with the appearance of Pacewon who provides a different flow to Nervous Wreck and Adlib‘s anonymous-sounding rhymes. “Pay Attention” is a valiant effort but the corny horn sample, coupled with the mediocre lyrical effort from Reef the Lost Cauze, make this a dud. Furthermore, Defari brings the L.A. heat on “Ride On” but his laid-back flow sounds out of place as compared to the more thuggish rhyme styles of the east coast emcees (i.e., Maylay Sparks and Sondro Castro) featured on the aforementioned track.
When it comes to the influence of Hip Hop, Europe has always been known to be on the receiving end of the equation. On Black Snow, Det and DJ Illegal (AKA Snowgoons) provide a counterargument in the form of solid tracks that showcases their ability to make dope east coast-influenced beats. The duo’s latest full-length is chock full of guest appearances from venerable underground lyricists and they bring nothing but heat to Snowgoons‘ sonic backdrops. No matter if you represent the European Union or the United States, if you are a fan of Underground Thug music, this album will definitely satisfy your needs.