Superiority Complex: Stand Up
Bru Records

Orlando-based Superiority Complex creates underground hip-hop of a particularly melodious kind. On Stand Up's strongest cuts (the snappy “Stand Up” and soulful “Rightside”), the trio's melodic sound recalls CYNE if at a slightly less developed instrumental level; like CYNE, Superiority Complex also sometimes caps a song with a nice instrumental tag (“The Rhyme”). MCs Poisoned Fetus (acronym for: Possession Of Infinite Skills Overwhelm Novice Emcees Daily Flows Exceed The Usual Standards) and Iron Monk distinguish themselves well enough but it's Blackology's soul-funk backings that prove most memorable, even if he does little to conceal the material's origins (elements of Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas are woven into the funky backing of “Seasons,” and “Palladium” from Weather Report's Heavy Weather and the Phil Collins-Philip Bailey duet “Easy Lover” work their way into “Butter” and “Deathwish”). Nice touches include the hiccupping soul vocal loop in “I Try” and the crisp snare thwack that powers the easy flow of “Relax Yourself,” and following “Love” (“Love make you not believe when you know she was creepin'/ And love make her stay with you when she know you was cheatin'”) with “Hate” (“If I could eliminate all those I hate with one wish / I'd probably be the only bastard left on this bitch”) makes for interesting contrast that's unfortunately diminished by banal lyrics (“I love it when you come to my show / I'm glad you came… But most of all I'm happy you listened to this song”). Still, as there are strengths, so too are there weaknesses. It's easy enough to ignore the stereotypical braggadocio (“That's right bitches, we are better than you / We don't just think it, we be it”) but the group should immediately retire its habit of interrupting the music with spoken word episodes (studio banter in “Bad” and a mock argument in “Club That Much”) which are merely tedious and severely cripple the album's flow.

August 2006