5.0 out of 5 stars Battleaxe Warriors...I thought I told ya!
Before Mad Child's descent into narcotics addiction and his fannying about with the Hells' Angels (which dovetailed into a series of less accomplished albums such as Armed to the Teeth and Dagger Mouth), he was part of a dynamic killer Canadian hip hop duo (with his comrade-in-arms, Prevail) called Swollen Members. Bad Dreams was, and remains to date, their most...
Published 23 months ago by OpenMind
3.0 out of 5 stars You Must Be Dreaming To Give It More Than 3.5
Underground rap label Battle Axe Records has become somewhat like Rawkus Records through time. They started out with a couple of unique acts and dropped some strong compilations. The label built strong connections with other underground cliques and groups. For Battle Axe they were Hieroglyphics, Living Legends, Dilated Peoples, Freestyle Fellowship/Project Blowd, and the...
Published on May 6 2004 by Cuzz
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5.0 out of 5 stars Battleaxe Warriors...I thought I told ya!,
This review is from: Bad Dreams (Audio CD)Before Mad Child's descent into narcotics addiction and his fannying about with the Hells' Angels (which dovetailed into a series of less accomplished albums such as Armed to the Teeth and Dagger Mouth), he was part of a dynamic killer Canadian hip hop duo (with his comrade-in-arms, Prevail) called Swollen Members. Bad Dreams was, and remains to date, their most commercially successful and acoustically pleasing (not to mention head-banging) release. In a hip hop landscape littered with trite, over-produced, sex & drugs-glamorizing schlock, Bad Dreams still stands out as invigorating, animated, and captivating. It starts off with a bang with the venomous "Killing Spree", lulls one into a false sense of mellowness with classic hip hop-inspired "Full Contact", then takes it up another five notches with the big-sounding, pulse-pounding "Take It Back". It's a wild ride from there, with plenty of ups, downs, arounds, and inside-outs. If I had to choose one hip hop album to take with me to a desert island, this would be it. And a fine choice it would be.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Album with Moka Only,
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This review is from: Bad Dreams (Audio CD)Moka Only adds a lot to this album. Mad Child and Prevail dominate, but Moka adds a lot to this wicked album too. A lot of hits on this album, and a lot of really great songs that do not get airplay! Highly recommend this record!
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive,
This review is from: Bad Dreams (Audio CD)About 3 1/2 - 4 years ago I discovered Swollen Members. Being the typical 7th grader I was, I wasn't interested in music that much if at all. When I first heard Fuel Injected on the radio I was entranced. Let's just say music has been important to me since that moment.
Out of all SM's CDs, Bad Dreams has been definetly the most impressive they've built a solid fan base because of this recording.
They are also amazing live, mhm.
Pick up the CD, it's well worth it
5.0 out of 5 stars Listen Carefully!,
This review is from: Bad Dreams (Audio CD)Whoever thinks "Deep End" is about suicide should really listen carefully to the lyrics. Whoever thinks MadChild doesn't listen to bars should consider that maybe MadChild doesn't give a [damn] and considers that his style. I love Bad Dreams as well as every one of my Swollen CD's. Each MC's style is unique: Prevail is brainy. MadChild uses ancient and fantasy based ideas. Bad Dreams is the cd that you pop into the cd player in your car during a long midnight highway drive. Excellent.
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprising and yet disappointing,
This review is from: Bad Dreams (Audio CD)I was really impressed with the quality of beats and music that this album produced. Prevail was outstanding and his flow was amazing. The song "Deep End" is easily one of the best hip hop songs I've ever heard, the flow, lyrics, beat and sound all work together incredibly well. However, the rest of the album is heavy with great beats and solid lines from Prevail, but Mad Child doesn't seem to count bars well, or even at all. There are parts in several songs in which he seems to delay, to set something down, but he doesn't continue with anything that ties together his rhymes. There are several songs in which pauses would be okay if done well, but he is without cadence or any sembelence of counting the beats or bars at all. There are several really good songs, like "Killing Spree", "The Reflection" and "Ventilate" that could be made into amazing songs with a bit more work. This album, if the timing on the lyrics was better, would easily be 5 stars, as the beats are some the best I've heard, and "Deep End" is one of the top 5 best rap/hip hop song I've heard.
3.0 out of 5 stars You Must Be Dreaming To Give It More Than 3.5,
This review is from: Bad Dreams (Audio CD)Underground rap label Battle Axe Records has become somewhat like Rawkus Records through time. They started out with a couple of unique acts and dropped some strong compilations. The label built strong connections with other underground cliques and groups. For Battle Axe they were Hieroglyphics, Living Legends, Dilated Peoples, Freestyle Fellowship/Project Blowd, and the Visionaries. As Rawkus grew they started to become less underground and a little more mainstream. With Battle Axe centre piece group Swollen Members, it looks as though BAX is headed in the same direction. Now artists gaining mainstream exposer and exploring new territory aren't bad things by themselves but both those things can be taken wrong directions. On Balance the collaborations S+M chose were for the most part hip hop legends (Del, Everlast, Divine Styler, & Aceyalone). On Bad Dreams they option for more contemporaries (Chali 2Na of Jurassic 5, Planet Asia and their Battle Axe worriers). On Balance their turntablists as well (Kut Masta Kurt & Mix Master Mike), now on BD they employ slightly newer Djs (Babu & Revolution). On the production end, Zodak who handled 5 songs on Balance is now no where to be seen. Paul Nice who made the beat for "Lady Venom" their first hit of any size is gone as well. Alchemist plays a smaller role as does Kemo. Nucleus who I have never heard of takes three songs on BD and co-executive produces the album. Soon to be Swollen Member Rob The Viking does a whopping 7 beats on this one, surprising since he wasn't on Balance. Luckily Evidence still has three productions like the last album. I'm all for artists expanding when it's done well (Outkast, Common, Snoop Dogg). When Swollen does it they just don't sound as original as they once did. If this was a step in positive evolution I wouldn't mind so much. If their latest albums indication "Monsters In The Closet" and "Heavy" all they care about is cliched lyrics, corny hooks and flossing and partying. This is by no means a bad album it stays true to the core of S+M but gives them room to breathe, but it has flaw. I'll get to the breakdown now though...
Take It Back ft/ DJ Revolution ~ This is the first experience of Rob The Viking production on the album. While the first couple of tracks sounded a little different than what Swollen delivered before it was similar and I enjoyed it. This shocked me when I first heard it. The production is actually up beat, almost downright happy. It uses a repetitive steady guitar lick, some spacey keys thrown in, nice effects, and horn snaps on the hook. Mad Child and Prev stay intact lyrically. Their trade off verses in the middle are the best the song has to offer with Mad Child being the nicest. Revolutions scratching is ill on the hook and end of song too.
Bad Dreams ~ Alchemist comes in on the boards to help bring that classic S+M ish to life. Prev 1's opening has to be the best part of the song with paranoia and nightmarish thoughts. Alchy uses amazing bass and chimey spooky keys for the beat with crumbly and explosion effects to round things out.
Ventilate ft/ DJ Babu ~ A very amusing and creative joint springs up right here. Prevail and Mad Child trade verses insulting each other and airing their grievances. They describe and show how in a group it's important to be open about things and speak your mind so in the end you can come together to make beautiful ish. The lines are sort of done like an interview, real kool. Label associate Joey Chavez does the production. He basically uses a funky wobbly key board bop and some nice crowd and percussion effects. Babu's work on the tables is fairly understated but are a welcome touch. Check out this verse:
Mad Child: "/Man, I can't believe I have to go through all of this again, I gave you your position/
Fuel Injected ft/ Moka Only ~ Swollen Members real breakthrough single. They didn't really sell out or anything for this to become a hugely popular song in their native land of Canada but it damn sure is catchy. Moka adds his smoked out singing to the hook and Kemo/Concise do their best version of DJ Shadow's "Organdonors" for the beat. Mad Child & Prevail drop strong boastful rhymes throughout the song and Moka's sung verse is a good listen too. (Saukrates remixes the beat and drops a verse on another version of the song at the end of the album)
This is Swollen's best commercially accessible album by far. It's a nice bridge between underground and commercial. I think it would be better if Moka & Rob stayed out of the group, Although I love Moka his solo work is much better, but its nice if he collaborates. Rob I don't mind him handling a beat or two but when he does most of the album he adds an unpleasant effect. Oh well what can a guy do, 3.5. Peace, Love & Soul...
3.0 out of 5 stars Weak Content,
This review is from: Bad Dreams (Audio CD)Others have mentioned that Swollen Members have talent and I won't disagree. The tracks are well put together and have solid beats. Overall the CD has a good sound and will get your head bopping. If you are into content at all though, this is not the greatest CD. The most interesting track on the CD is about the two of them coming up and having resentment towards each other. I'm not saying that they are not good, but for someone who follows the lyrics of rappers such as The Roots, Mos Def, and Jurrasic 5, these guys just don't cut it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark rap,
This review is from: Bad Dreams (Audio CD)"Bad Dreams" deals with exactly what the title promises: dark rap lyrics about monsters and nightmares, something that is new in the world of semi-naked women and songs about shoes. Swollen Members have delivered something purely original in a genre of music that has been anything but over the past few years. There are some great songs on this album, especially "Full Contact" that features the brilliant Charlie 2Na from Jurrasic 5, "Deep End", "Anthrax Island" and "Bring it Back", possibly the lightest tune on the album. Mad Child and Prevail have different styles and different influences that mesh together perfectly, making them an incomparable duo.
The dark lyrics is what makes this album great, but not to be overlooked is the actual music. Many of these tracks would be completely listenable without the lyrics, something nearly unheard of in the world of sampling, and much credit needs to be given to Rob the Viking, as he has created great music for the Members to rap their menacing lyrics over.
This is far better than the other rap albums that are out there now, as well as being the best from the Swollen Members.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great hip-hop,
This review is from: Bad Dreams (Audio CD)From when I heard the first notes of "Killing Spree", to when the last beats ended in "Fuel Injected (Remix)", Bad Dreams is one of the best hip-hop albums out there. If there's anything you want to pick up for your collection, this one is an obvious choice. The album is full of great tracks; my favourites in particular are "Killing Spree", "Take It Back", "Bad Dreams", "Deep End", "Anthrax Island", "Ventilate", "Burns and Scars", "Fuel Injected", and "High Road". As you can see, you can't go wrong with Swollen Members' second album, even with the few "not-so good" tracks, like "Snake Bite", and "Fuel Injected (Remix)". Overall, if you're looking for some sick beats with even better rhymes, pick up "Bad Dreams", because the many great tracks more than make up for the two sub-par ones.
5.0 out of 5 stars Canada's Premiere Rap Group,
This review is from: Bad Dreams (Audio CD)I have to say it took me a while to discover them, but the Swollen Members are awesome.
I was a huge fan of rap music back in the early nineties, Digital Underground, NWA, Public Enemy, and most other old school. By the mid-90's rap had basically become garbage. The real talent was lost as it became more big business than anything else. So what I really dig about this awesome group from Van-city is that they take me back to my roots.
Being Canadian, maybe I just feel a certain kinship with these guys, but I really think that they are one of the best rap groups out there today, right up there with Del, and well, nobody else that I can think of off the top of my head.
Bad Dreams, the second full-length album from the Swollen Members, really has an old school feel to it. With musical excellent stylings like unsaturated beats and synchronized rapping, this album could really take a person back, but at the same time, it still feels fresh.
The rhymes are also intelligent, which is something generally lacking from hip-hop today. The spectrum of lyrical diversity is evident as these guys bust about anything from a being a cannibal on an island to my personal favourite tune on the album, Deep End, which is about late-night recording sessions.
Another strong point to this album is the performances delivered by its guests. Notably, DJ Revolution, DJ Babu, and Moka Only contribute to the depth and fineness of this outing.
Overall, it is a strong album, and a real success on the part of the Swollen Members. I applaud their effort and hope to see this album pick up a couple of Junos this year.
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