Album Review | Sankofa – BLKTCHP2

This album was released on July 21st this year. Sankofa already dropped one of the best extended plays of the year alongside SoCal with KofaSoCalfragilistic, so when I saw this project I was definitely intrigued. Apparently this is the fifth of nine projects that Sankofa has coming out this year, so I guess he’s one of those types of artists that’s just constantly writing. He’s gotta be one of the most prolific artists of 2022. It’s pretty impressive. Anyway, all the production on this album in particular is handled by an artist named phdbeats. I’ve never heard any of their production before, but I’m sure it’ll be solid if Sankofa thinks it’s worthy of his rhymes.

The album begins with a highlight entitled A Thousand Watches. The first thing I noticed about this project is how dark the production is. The entire album has a very consistent aesthetic. It actually sounds like the cover art, which I appreciate. Sankofa killed the first verse too. He really set this thing off right.

Ankle deep in wet cement, baby steppers represent
Take a minute for that second spent, left a dent
No festive lens is seen a stressful end
So let’s pretend the rules they made apply to them and press repent
I wrecked the pen, ink spill Exxon Valdez
The best and worst of times, accursed minds inside of foul leagues
My falconry amalgam of alchemy on how to breathe
Falling on deaf ears, feather pillows smother sound asleep

The entire album is full of dense rhymes like these. This track is definitely one of my favorites though. I even like the hook on this track. There’s really nothing I dislike about it. Both of the verses are phenomenal.

We celebrate the failure of those who had dared to try
As though the air we breathe is rarefied, and there’s the lie
Pointing fingers, grubby digits, what he did was verified
Poison stingers, so many scared to fly yet wear a kite
A cherub’s spine crackles under pressure, spare the pine
Run for cover with abundant treasure, best beware of mine
Too scared to climb, rather see the mountain and call it quits
The kid making mystic potions dosage from a cauldron drips

The song is dope as hell. It’s followed by another highlight called Ghosts Start Running. I really love the dark beat on this track, and the kind of melodic intro on this track is actually really great to me. Sankofa of course murdered the first verse. The second verse is performed by JON?DOE, and a lot of the bars are oddly silly in comparison with those of Kofa. I personally didn’t really mind at all though. I think his verse was great.

Maybe it's wrong, but once I introduce your face to my schlong
You'll say it belongs, then treat it like your favorite bong

That couplet is fire honestly. I love how Sankofa came back in right behind JON?DOE to spit a third verse too. Honestly, this song was already a highlight for me on my first listen of the album, but I like it even more now than I originally did. This shit is dope af. The third song is called No Time for Highnesses. Once again, the rapping is top notch. I have to admit that some of the content kinda goes over my head, but the rhymes, diction, flow, and vocal delivery are all really enjoyable for me.

Another rapper steps and I snap him in five
I’m needing multiple mouths to spit the raps that I write
Lost within the pondering's a cavernous mind
Hearing impaired interpreters at shows, the rapper is signed
Cardiac visualized, the aperture’s mine
Medicinal vibes, my tribe is half of savage sublime
My click track is the crack of a spine, tackling mimes
Forget a diamond pendant, I want a map of your mind

This track’s got a very straightforward structure, which I appreciate. He doesn’t throw any curveballs here. It’s just really good rapping over a dark, hard-hitting instrumental. I fuck with the song. It’s dope. The following track is entitled Four Percent. This track definitely has one of my favorite beats on the album. It has kind of an Electronic flair to it in my opinion, but that might just be me. It’s an awesome beat though. I actually love the subject matter of this track too. Sankofa is basically shitting on wack rappers throughout this entire track.

You caught a body? Moving mannequins maybe
Your braggadocios raps are nothing more than fantasy fading
Calamity cadence, your whole career is the Lids store
All caps, so fall back when I spit war
I’m sick and tired of victimizers who pick a crisis
And sell wolf tickets, opportunists, slipping fivers

I really like the kind of Spoken Word hook on this track too. It’s very disrespectful.

Nobody believes you, man
They're just there for the fad
Soon as the next one comes along
You're a tumbleweed, blowing away
Old and gray

He killed this track. I really enjoyed this track on my first listen of the album, but I like it even more now after repeat listens. The final verse is pretty crazy.

I’m beckoned by the fire within, withstood the test of time
The breath supplied is dire and grim, at best the rest decline
Select designs I’m driving again, intestines set to grind
Ingest the finest pine with some tin, conjecture gets the shine

I wish someone would do one of those rhyme scheme breakdown videos where they highlight all the rhymes for Sankofa. The dude is super technical with it. This song is dope as hell. The following track is entitled A Soul to Sell, and it features an artist named Chuck Brown. Once again the production is very dark and ominous. The drums are really dusty, which I love. I really like that one piano note that comes in for the hook. That was a nice touch. The first couple of verses from Kofa were just as great as all the other verses from him on this project. I was also really impressed by the Chuck Brown verse. I thought his flow was really nice. The song’s really dope overall. It’s followed by a highlight called They Hope We Never. It’s got another one of my favorite beats on the album. I love this beat honestly. It might actually be my number one favorite beat on this project. It’s dope as fuck. It makes me think of Resident Evil 4 for some reason. Anyway, Sankofa murdered the first verse on this track.

Cookie cutters stay sharp with the filth provided
Bravehearts emasculated for that silver lining
A hill divided, I still will climb it until I’m tired
People making faces just to get their grills admired
Gift horses with a stilted neigh parade for photo ops
The older cough above a platter stacked with stroganoff
No bogota, but still the flow is potent, dope and raw
The Kofa law triplicate, and so the folks applaud

I think the second verse is somehow even better though. He killed this shit.

It sounds morbid but I warn, the craft is serious
Half Siberian cafeteria slapped imperious
I pass the period with two dots so here he is
Life sentences immortalized despite my weariness
Or gear that he appears within in the pyramids cheering him
Spearing half the theories unraveling then the tears begin

The final verse is great too. The hook is solid as well. There’s nothing about this track that I don’t like. The production is fire, and Kofa killed it. The song’s dope as hell. It’s followed by Al Jourgensen. I really love the relatively jazzy production on this track. It’s surprisingly smooth, yet dark at the same time. The first verse is beautifully written too.

The rap baccalaureate fracturing acts so glorious
After attacks the morgue begins overflowing with war, we binge
Orchids from Kevorkian, sticking a fork in him
The grim reaper use the scythe to wipe fedora lint
No time for tourists I rhyme remorseless supplying forces
Out for fame with names trailing on the iron horses
Flyer torsions, my adidas back in days before
Kirby Puckett made them face the cord, names are made in gore
Parade velour phraseology, I’m staying pure
Filet the policy, my basic ways acknowledge grief
A slug sliding on the razor blade and falls asleep
Sacrificial lambs, lay upon the altar weak

His flow is smooth as hell all over this track. All three of the verses are super well-written and well-performed. I think it’s a really dope track. Track 8 is entitled Shoutout to Muggs, which is a fitting title. phdbeats’ production style reminds me of modern DJ Muggs a lot. This beat in particular is really good. There’s just one verse from Kofa on this track, but it’s pretty great.

Wrestle an octopus, I’m seeing nothing but suckers here
Rocking that pullover circa Warren Sapp buccaneers
Tuck your tears behind those designer shades, no rhyme is safe
Pour some acid in your sadness just to fry your face
It’s phdbeats from San Diego, catch the padres
While I hyperextend entendres in solemn songs, the swans play

This is definitely one of the weaker songs on the album in my opinion just because it’s so straightforward, and doesn’t really stand out much from the other tracks. I definitely like it to some extent though. I think it’s pretty good personally. It’s followed by an even better track called Fran Gull. Once again, I really love the dark production on this track. I was also hooked as soon as Sankofa started speaking on the intro of this track.

Do you ever do everything that you've been told to do, and it doesn't work?
You try to fix it, but it's broken, and it breaks us
Maybe that's just the way they intend it

The first verse is really awesome. Again, I was hooked by everything he had to say. His flow and vocal delivery sounded really nice as well.

Look, I don't have room for hatred in my heart
But my lungs are storage units as voracious as they're sparse
Some sort of Cupid in a stupor aiming arrows poisonous
No time for parlor tricks deploying quips for toys to lift
I hope they have the staying power disappointment does
Breaking chains, connecting shackles when they hoist the cuffs
I long for change like when perestroika struck
Everything is going fine, but it’s all poised to bust

The hook doesn’t really stand out to me that much, but it’s not necessarily bad. The verses are what keep me interested though. The production is also very good. I fuck with the song. It’s dope. Track 10 is called Katana Blade Academy. Once again, the production reminds me a lot of something DJ Muggs would do. This beat in particular reminded me of the instrumental for Assassination Day. One thing I thought about while I was listening to this album is how Sankofa has released so much music, but hasn’t really gone on a crazy press run for any of the releases. It seems like as soon as he releases one project he’s on to the next one. I feel like the opening line of the first verse kind of addresses this…

I do this for the love, not finagling to monetize it

The reason he’s released so much music seems to be that he genuinely just loves doing it. I’m sure he appreciates being compensated for his art, but financial gain doesn’t seem to be his end goal. Professor Skye Paine posted a review for a Ka album about a year or two ago in which he compared him to Franz Kafka. He stated that Ka is Kafkaesque in the sense that he doesn’t release art for fame or wealth, but rather for the love of the art form. I feel like Sankofa is the same way. How else can you explain his prolificness in conjunction with his lack of self promotion? Anyway, this is a really good song. I know I didn’t really talk about it that much, but I like it a lot. The production is tight, and the rapping is great, especially on the final verse.

The mess that was holds no candle to Vesuvius
Souls shudder when inhaling that effluvia
In tune with the moodiness, fence is Gary Busey
Picket cosigns and Mariuccis carry Uzis
That behooves me, the fourth horsemen with the luck attached
Watch the suckers duck and dash, suffering succotash
Take it up a class, forget a notch, they tuck the sash
For that upper crust Augusta stash that they must amass

I fuck with the song. The penultimate track is entitled I Am Death. This track has another one of my favorite beats on the album. The title is very fitting because this instrumental sounds like the Grim Reaper’s theme song. It reminds me of the final boss from Soul Calibur II, Inferno. Honestly, I liked this song the first time I heard it, but now it’s one of my favorite songs of the year. It has probably my favorite line on the whole album.

I am the space where atheists and their hope combines

Man… That’s honestly gotta be one of my favorite lines of the year. This song is beautifully written. Both of the verses are fantastic, and the hook is solid too. The production is phenomenal as well. The song’s dope af. The closing track is entitled Through with the Garbage, and it features two artists with whom I was previously unfamiliar named G.One & Walter J. Liveharder. The first verse is performed by G.One, who sounds a lot like Ras Kass with a deeper voice in my opinion. I really enjoyed his performance here. The record scratches and M.O.P. sample from DJ Navin Johnson were a nice touch too. The second verse from Walter J. Liveharder is pretty dope.

I don’t mind 'cause most of y’all don’t matter
I’m tuned in, don’t get tuned up with all that chatter
Your ass got it backwards, I am not a fucking rapper
Fuck around and find yourself served on a platter
I’m known for taking it too far, over the edge your shoved
Stupid is as stupid does, I’m taking off the gloves
You want it? You can get it, my city shows no love
You going in the river, rolled up body in a rug

I definitely think Sankofa had the best verse on this song. He had a relatively fast paced flow on this track, which was a cool, exciting way to end the project. I really fuck with this track. It’s dope.

The first time I heard this project, I really liked it, but now I like it even more than I originally did. I think this is a great album. On my first listen, I felt like the production was a bit too similar throughout this project, but after listening multiple times I appreciate the consistent soundscape. There’s not a single beat on here that I thought was even remotely wack. Sankofa’s writing on this project is just phenomenal too. The dude’s a super skilled MC. I kinda feel like he outrapped most of the features here, but none of them were bad. Honestly, this is another one of the better albums I’ve heard in 2022. I really love this thing. Don’t sleep on this one. It’s dope.

Favorite Song: I Am Death
Least Favorite Song: Shoutout to Muggs


Grade: B+

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