I started out listening to Heltah Skeltah with their second installment, 'Magnum Force'. For someone who hadn't been exposed to 'Nocturnal' beforehand, 'MF' sounded really good, and while it still does, it doesn't measure up to the street-wise sensibilities found in the first album. Having gone back and purchased this, I now understand what some people meant back in '98 meant when they said 'MF' sounded "cleaner" and less grimier than 'Nocturnal'.
Actually, the entire soundscape for 'Nocturnal' is rightfully implied in the album title: very stark, dreary, eerie, dark, and reminds me of the entire BCC in the studio with a huge buddah smoke session going on. I agree with one of the other reviewers who said that Ruck and Rock both sound just blunted while trading verses.
'Nocturnal' is straight hip hop: there's no socio-political activism, no "Jesus Walks", no mother/daughter dedications -- Just straight up grimy, street, "hoodies and Timbs" hip hop, which means 'beats and rhymes'. Period. Da' Beatminerz provided a lot of production on here, which explains a lot of the dark, eerie musical backdrops the emcees drop lyrics over.
Former Decepticons (an older NY street gang), Ruck and Rock are some pretty pissed off mofos. In fact at times, you can almost feel Rock, with his commanding vocal delivery, being up in your face about to pound your ass and beat the living crap out of you -- I know I felt it. You'll love it: Ruck's straight loco delivery and mesmerizing skills, Rock's towering demeanor, deathly sharp verbal acrobatics, and that commanding presence largely implemented by his deep baritone which carries his wordplay.
If you dig the street-wise Rasta crew BCC, you'll love these two pissed off, angry as hell "naughty" dreads. (Speaking of which, does anyone know what the heck 'Leflaur Leflah Eshkoshka' means?!? LOL!) Purchase this now. And as soon as you pop it in, without further ado, Ruck and Rock'll proceed to pound your ass with "Letha Brainz Blo". Peace!