California has always been home to some of the world’s most notable underground emcees. The newest crew to set the spotlight on the Golden State is Sacramento’s own Live Manikins. Live Manikins is Self, Flavius, Linguistics, Runt Rock (producer), and DJ Rated R. The crew solidifies its prominence in the City of Trees as Old School beats meets New School flows on their dynamic 14-track opus “Still Life”.
This diverse group of musicians truly defines creativity as displayed on “Who’s That” which features thoroughbred emcee Man@Arms. The Manikins bring the heat over hard-hitting kicks, snares and cymbals. The subtle piano riff and synths provide the perfect yard for these witty lyricists to stomp upon. DJ Rated R laces the track with turntable treats as his cuts and scratches satisfy DJ enthusiasts of all types.
The saga continues on the thought provoking positive track “Just Listen”. The track’s coming of age premise has The Manikins taking trips down Memory Lane as they trade stories of overcoming the odds of one’s environment and the loss of family and close friends. The opening saxophone riff sets the tone for the synthesized keys and rich percussion that follows. The flow and lyricism correspond perfectly with the instrumental as the Live Manikins entertain and educate their audience.
Rock meets Hip-Hop on the electronic guitar laced “Malfunktion”, as The Manikins drop millennium rhymes over a 1985esque rhythm. The boom-bap percussion will puncture woofers as the infectious wailing guitar provides audible navigation. DJ Rated R cuts a classic Run-DMC record and complimentary guitar stabs, while the crew goes all out over this underground classic. Other notable tracks that round out Still Life are the Harold Melvin inspired “Wake Up”, “Rock the Mic” and the B-Boy anthem “Just Got the Style”.
Still Life is an eclectic compilation of classic material that pays homage to a genre of music that we all know and love so much. Their style is reminiscent of the back packing days of The Hieroglyphics and offers Hip-Hop heads a much-needed breath of fresh air. Although Hip-Hop continues to be dominated by commercialism and materialism, the Live Manikins stay the course of creativity and originality and offer an astounding alternative to the mainstream media’s status quo.