D|REVIEWS – Aztek The Barfly Proves Crown Worthy With “LineKing”.
If hip hop had a kingdom Detroit’s bar slinging loyalty Aztek The Barfly would be vying for the crown. Well smash open those locked gates & embrace this latest effort by a punchline packed emcee as he carries us through a variety of lyrical realms in his full length effort “LineKing”. Lyrical massacre isn’t the only expectation here though with label mate Foul Mouth lacing the soundtrack behind the kings travels. The two combine efforts alongside a few talented tagalongs delivering twelve tracks of effective, hard hitting good ol’ hip hop for listeners who enjoy bars, substance, & heavy hearted delivery.
The force behind these Detroit mainstays is a brand new hip hop imprint that goes by the name of Middle Finger Music headed via Pat 313. As usual I’ll be breaking down “LineKing” track by track giving a little insight into each record after a few thorough listens. So without anything further here’s DetroitRap.com reviews “LineKing”.
01. Alpha (The Beginning) – We open up with an ear absorbing lady somewhat chanting sampled into the beat as Aztek begins to ignite the “fire”. Lines like “& for that crown I’ll make Mufasa scar Simba” showcase right off the bat the kind of hard hitting bar rap you’re in for as you traverse “LineKing”. It’s a solid opener, short, & sweet as if a sampler before the main feast.
02. 270 feat. Foulmouth – Until these guys hopped on Shade 45 with DJ Eclipse a few weeks back I knew Foul Mouth strictly as a producer. “270”’ not only brandishes one of my favorite productions on this album but Foul Mouth takes it a step further proving he can rap with the best of them. The two label mates trade verses mashing multi-syllables together & both shine respectively. I had some “Evidence/Dilated Peoples” style vibes with this one & it’s one the early standouts on an overall cohesive record.
03. Fair Warning feat. Jake Knew and Kid Vishis – The production Foul Mouth is lacing here three records in got me feeling like we hearing the next Premier level producer being born. This shit just goes hard & Aztek is a prime match. As the whistling sounds eerily provide a backdrop bars like “kinda sound like King Kong in the room, so high I could play ping pong with the moon” solidify Aztek’s powerful delivery. Verse two we got Jake Knew who I’m not too familiar with, although his voice sounded like someone I’ve heard before & couldn’t quite put my finger on it. His verse is clean sonically and fits the song well but being sandwiched between Aztek & Vishis I cant help but feel the verse would’ve stood better on its own. Kid Vishis swoops in on some alien invasion bars and closes out the record with finesse in a well rounded record.
04. Ricky Pierce – The way this beat introduces Aztek’s flow on this one had me bobbing my head rather instantly… “I’m a broken condom, in other words i’m what math teachers keep in their head, I’m a fucking problem” sorta sums up “Ricky Pierce”. It’s a straight forward bar for bar display that keeps the momentum of “LineKing” going.
05. ’93 Jerry Ball feat. J-Classic, Bang Belushi, and Kid Vishis – Nearly reaching the halfway point we have the most feature filled spot on the project as a quadruple threat of lyricists take turns word weaving with intricacy. The hook had me feeling like a Kanye “Barry Bonds” type record but that comparison stops at the hook – the level of rhyme schemes these four possess is certainly upper echelon. No weak spots here as each brought their own to the table. We also get our first taste of Middle Finger Music’s Bang Belushi as well who represents on this one! I imagine a grimy, dope video to this one!
06. Nightmare Trucks – “It’s like the mic holy water how I bless venues…..” Mr. Barfly tells us amongst another mid two minute banger chocked full of quotable’s. As I dug deeper into “LineKing” one thing became evident as I listened….if I wanted to pick out each bar that caught my ears I would basically have to transcribe the whole album. Foul Mouth does a good job of creating a “nightmarish” style production here too – I can hear this laced behind some scary movie scenes easily!
07. The Overture feat. Aaron Taylor and King Gordy – Easily one of my favorites on the record right here. I love the structure of this song – from Aztek’s opening verse driving us forward & touching on some slight back and forth dialogue with King Gordy in the opening verse to the dope layers of the beat building out before the epic opera style chorus that bridges King Gordy’s “horrorcore-riffic” verse drives in. Towards the end of “The Overture” Aaron Taylor douses us with some R&B flavor that ties everything together fantastically & fit the overall sound extremely well! Standout track for me with this one!
08. Good to be Home – This one right here comes off as one of the more storytelling oriented records on “LineKing”. No shortage of bars still & one in particular had me chuckle out loud with “google me your like a pirate when he find treasure“, I found it humorous but there’s also no lie in the statement. Any true hip hop fan stumbling against Aztek The Barfly I can only imagine becoming pleasantly surprised between past projects & this one right here theres a plethora of reasons to tune in.
09. Bang and the Barfly feat. Bang Belushi – Middle Finger Music in full force as Aztek, Bang Belushi, & Foul Mouth give us that organic brewed hip hop in another record I can really begin to picture a video for. Hell he even talks about movie scripts during verse one – very fitting… Bang’s second verse one of the standout featured verses for me on this – it was a more straight forward rhyme scheme but the grimy bars meshed perfectly again FM’s soundtrack. The hook/chorus here extremely hype too & I can see the venues getting hype for this one!
10. Blackout feat. Hatch and Fatt Father – This one here is a pound for pound, bar for bar, one after another traversal of three established Detroit area emcees doing what they do best. Each verse transitions into the next & there’s no slack here as each emcee feeds into the next. Wack emcees might just “Blackout” to this when they realize any of these three could torment quite a few rap careers with minuscule effort.
11. Middle Finger Music feat. Aaron Taylor – Here comes an anthem of sorts for the new imprint birthing this very dope record right here. Aaron Taylor shines once again with his unique voice encouraging you to throw those middle fingers in the air. Another one of the standout tracks for me, & possibly the most “catchy” on the album you could say. I got AT’s chorus stuck in my head after this one. One line that really stood out to me too was “the one’s collecting souls run the business, but I don’t think they had one to begin with“. Not so much a braggadocios bar there but I can vibe with the message. This one here is a great representation/anthem for MFM.
12. The Line King – A play off “Lion King” mister “Line King” brings us to a close with the title track. Foul Mouth once again is no slouch & this track builds you up before bringing silence to us. BOOM ….it ain’t over yet – “heavy handed no tattoo artist, pull my motor out & show you what a baboon heart is” brings us full force back into Aztek’s signature heavy hitting delivery as we take in the final minutes of this incredible record that provides well enough proof that Aztek The Barfly is worthy of the title he set for himself.
In closing we have a debut label release headlined by a veteran emcee that sounds as polished as ever. With the team Middle Finger Music has assembled the future looks bright and Aztek The Barfly and Foul Mouth go together like butter on bread. A consistent record that you would have to search for weak spots with a tepid ear that brings along team mates & other local lyrical weaponry well armed. The result providing a cohesive & enjoyable record that feels very well rounded, thought out, & an enticing entry into the MFM catalog. 9/10