Certified Amped: Vicious Cycle
Real recognizes real, and as a real emcee, I recognize the talent and skill in Houston’s Vicious Cycle, one of the illest duos since Black Star. Money Stax and Neeky Devero handle the mic with the dexterity of Maximus wielding a fiery hilted gladius amidst combat, parrying and slashing emcees with a blitzkrieg of dulcet lyrical strikes. They go from 0 to 60 in milliseconds switching from battle rhymes (“You People”, “Don’t Sleep”) to community activism (“Ruff Timez”) with ease. These battle tested rhythmical gladiators can put words together with the best of them and devour them with their potent bars.
There’s no doubt that these champion combatants of the verbal arena are bona fide gladiators, but every great warrior has its weaknesses and their weakness happens to be production (“Time for Winning, “Tuesday & Thursday”). Television shows of the 70s/80s heavily influenced the production of the album and at times fail to match the intensity of the verbal content. VC does however bounce back with banging production on “T&A”, “H.N.I.C.”, and the piano driven “Phone Call” (BANANAS!!!). Dope beats are between the lines, but you may have to keep an ear out for them.
If you’re looking for club music or music to dance to in general, this ain’t for you. But if you’re looking for blood lusting, scythe swinging lyrics, Vicious Cycle’s “The Vagina Chronolouge” is where it’s at!