Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Man of Many Names

Raks One
Sycorax - "Guess Who" from Identity Crisis EP (2002, Basement Troubadour)
Phocus - "Homecoming (Bring It Back)" from A Vision and a Plan (2004, Handcuts Records)

In my first post here I thought I'd bring you folks up to date with one of the best slept on MCs out of New York - Raks One. I'll forgive you if you haven't heard of him before; this cat has had almost as many name changes as he has official releases. Starting out independently as Sycorax, or Sycorax One, he released his Identity Crisis EP in 2002 which exemplified his abilities as a versatile MC - not only in his flows, but also in the topics he chose to rhyme about. Addressing topics from his issues with President Bush (see Burning Bush) to a relationship with your dream girl (Tongue Tied), Sycorax's smooth voice guided the listener on a tour of his skills, showing why he would soon become a staple in the underground scene.

In the world of Hip Hop it often seems that talent attracts talent. This is exactly what has happened to Raks recently, as he has hooked up with the great production team over at Wax Reform. The skilled production team of DMinor, Muneshine, ILLMind and M-Phazes not only span the globe (Saskatchewan, Canada to Australia) but have laid down tracks for gifted MCs such as Supastition, MF Grimm, Akrobatik and Louis Logic. In 2004, Raks One (as he is now known) hooked up in house producer Muneshine as Phocus to deliver the album A Vision and a Plan. With the solid, soulful production of Muneshine behind him, Raks elevated his game to another level. Flowing perfectly over the smooth beats with meaningful, yet realistic lyrics, the New York native keeps you listening for the entire LP, while 'Shine ensures that your head is nodding the entire time. The track I've posted above from this release is Raks' tribute to the B-Boy in Hip Hop, calling for a retrieval of the old school flavor in today's money-focused scene over a nicely crafted beat, and an impressive display of scratching from Phocus' DJ Realone.

Raks also recently dropped his Wax Reform solo debut, For Good, which featured guest spots from Supastition and Kenn Starr, as well as production from the in house Wax Reform boys. This album is the next step in Raks' maturity as a solo artist, and with it he lets us know that he's only improving and polishing his skills. Luckily for the fans, Raks has made his recent mixtape Raks One vs. the Industry available as a free download on his website RaksOne.com - so check that out for a nice free sampler.

Expect nothing but more great Hip Hop to come out of Raks and the Wax Reform crew - and look out for Phocus' next LP entitled Threshold to be released in the near future. Shout outs also go to the clothing label 3sixteen Fabrications who put out clothing with a meaning - you can notice Raks sporting their "Speak Out" tee in the picture above.

3 Comments:

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12/19/2005 5:20 PM  
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11/28/2007 8:04 PM  

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