Autopsy, formerly known as Project 28 from the Masters of the Universe crew, holds a strong background in battling and that shows on this release. If you remember Canibus before he was layering four different 250-bar verses on top of each other, Autopsy sounds like that. He spits unrelentingly intense, free-associative battle raps riddled with esoteric references to science fiction, comics, and spirituality. You'll be hard-pressed to find anything resembling a cohesive statement in any of the songs. Like his close friend Scatterbrain on his latest release, you could probably cut up his verses into couplets and rearrange them in any order without altering much in terms of meaning. The lyricism here is less about relaying a message than it is about conveying a certain mood.
On the album's first single, "Seppuku" (watch the video here), a reference to Japanese ritual suicide, Autopsy's imagery jumps from "a genetic lab shaped like the chamber of a nine (9mm gun)" to Voldemort of Harry Potter fame to "moving dark clouds like metronomes." Autopsy doesn't paint a portrait so much as he sketches a landscape, a dark ominous landscape, like a formless, chaotic mass of gas in space threatening to coalesce into a new entity of some sort.
Of course, 21 Gramz's instrumentals have much to do with creating this dark mood. The beats are unapologetically sinister. 21 Gramz constructs a wall of sound driven by dirty, plodding drums and pretty much anything that can create dissonance and atonality. Like the lyricism, you may not always know what you're hearing. But you will always have this gut feeling that something is wrong in the world of 21 Bodies.
And that's by design. True to its name, 21 Bodies is murderous, lyrically and sonically. But it's not for the faint of heart. If you enjoy art that disturbs, this is for you. If you have trouble sleeping after watching a good horror flick, you might want to pass.
Quan Vu Quan Vu is the founder and editor of local music blog SD Raps.com. He has also written about local and national hip-hop acts for San Diego CityBeat and the San Diego Reader. You can nerd out on rap trivia by becoming BFF's on Facebook or e-mailing him directly.