Release Date: 1st June 2018
Label: New Damage Records
Powerflo – the spawn of Cypress Hill‘s Sen Dog’s friendship with members of Biohazard and, seemingly, his boredom when B-Real went to go record some mad biz with some of RATM and Chuck D. Now, if I said that 90s Cypress Hill was my absolute JAM, I wouldn’t be lying – their eponymous debut and sophomore Black Sunday are some of my top all-time hip-hop picks. However, I also wouldn’t be lying if I said they hadn’t fallen off the hinges in recent times, with 2010’s hard rock-infused Rise Up hitting my ear worse with every listen, and Sen’s contributions especially feeling, as PopMatters put it, “smoked out”.
The same can be said with this release, an 8-track EP containing two original songs and six remixes of two tracks from their 2017 debut. The two original songs, “Get Up Stand Up” and “Bring That Shit Back”, are characterised by these pretty bog-standard, thrashy riffs and Sen Dog’s rapping; a mixture of predictable bars and weak hooks, his delivery pretty limited to his “inSANE in the BRAIIIN” days. The latter also contains the sole lyric “We’re motherfucking Powerflo” — which is useful if you’re not sure what you’re listening too, or grating if you’re already painfully aware.
Then, we get to the meat of the release: the remixes. Taken from the lead singles of their debut, Where I Stay and The Grind, the source material here isn’t too bad, all things considering. The raps are tighter, and the instrumentals seem to have a notch more variation. That said, as they’ve been warped by the motley crew of DLOW, HALLUCINATOR, VIGILANTE, NIVEAU ZERO, BIG BROTHER 84 and VIRAL – a charming bunch, I’m sure -, all semblance of enjoyment leaves us, in their a place a collection of synthetic snares, trap-flavoured hi-hats and, in some cases, dubstep-esque breakdowns and bass drops — Cable was right, dubstep never dies.
Needless to say, I’m not keen on the style, considering the fact that it isn’t 2013 anymore, and I also find it kind of trivial why you’d need to remix these decent-to-mediocre songs in such a way.
I guess that would be the way to sum Powerflo‘s Bring That Shit Back up – trivial. The songwriting is nothing mind-blowing, with tired hooks and riffs you could find anywhere. Sen Dog’s vocal delivery is the same, as he replays the same flo’ we’ve heard before, punctuated by these irritating chants in the backing vocals. Anything that could get worse, gets worse, though, as the majority the EP’s runtime is dedicated to a smorgasboard of, *in my opinion*, frankly awful remixes. You could argue I’m being harsh – my counterargument would be; listen to this, and tell me otherwise.
Gooduns’: I mean, did you read the review?
For fans of: Prophets of Rage, Cypress Hill, Biohazard