I first got into Swollen Members (Canada's illest hip hop export, all due respect to Canibus, Choclair & Kardinall Offishall) when I picked up 2003's Heavy. I enjoyed the album, thought there a few stand out tracks, but they were just missing the proverbial "something".
My first time through their newest release, Black Magic, I noticed three things: (1) Moka Only is no longer a member of the crew, although he is one two tracks (2) This album has a much higher quality of guests: Phil Da Agony, Planet Asia, Ghostface Killah, Evidence, Mr. Vegas & Everlast and (3) The Swollen Members have found that "something".
I really enjoyed this album. The production is great. Prevail is on point as always and Mad Child has some nice verses (once you get past his B-Real meets Cage voice). There is a great mix of songs on here, some serious, some commercial, some dark, some hype, some nerd rap. This variety keeps the album flowing and makes it a great listen start to finish.
I highly recommend this album to anyone who is a fan of non-commercial hip hop. It's by no means a perfect album, but it is one of the best CDs that I've purchased in a while. If you like commercial, mainstream hip hop, you might like a few of the songs like "Pressure", "Go To Sleep" & "Put Me On", but that's probably it.
Great beats; Strong album top to bottom; Most of the guests bring a lot to the able, especially Ghostface & Evidence; Some hot tracks like "Torture", "Weight", "Dark Clouds", "Black Magic" & "Brothers"; "Heart" is a great song; Even the commercial tracks are hot, especially "Pressure".
Could have been a few tracks shorter; I don't like how the intros are part of the previous track.