LAW was a ridiculously potent eleven-deep (or so) master rap collective from LA that you have probably never heard of? They did one truly historic album in 1995 that it seems went nowhere for reasons I am unsure of!? Their style was essentially Battle Rap/Hardcore Hip-Hop, but their mode of linguistic dispatching derived from an obsession with extremely violent, graphic & destructive lyricism & majorly murderous metaphors heavy on pugnacity & lethal depictions galore.
They also had very advanced language & word-play that allowed them to create pretty shocking shit with descriptions & rhymes. As a unit I would consider these guys elite with a very significant pedigree. The competition & banner-bearing is obviously intense so there is literally barely a dud line throughout as each MC strains his craft to the max for the sake of his own reputation & the squad itself. At least two of the crew are also, seriously’ seriously fucking incredible lyricists, one of which has a syllable isolating style that I have, with all honesty, never heard anyone else do to such extremes. The energy of the group, the high-stake, maximization of power, consummate concentration & optimized do-or-die creed that the collective induce is absolutely electrifying & captures to me pretty much everything that this shit is supposed to be about. The beats are also very substantial with some highly novel touches along with scratching & pitched down samples throughout the LP.
I assume that part of why LAW have not found greater fame is because of the strength & frequency of their severely violent metaphors, coupled with some of the dark production/samples, threat & morbidity that the album emanates. These guys are not as obscene as some of their counterparts such as say Insane Poetry, Ganksta N-I-P, X-Raided or Brotha Lynch Hung etc, but they are much more detailed & verbally capable of rendering far more realistic descriptions of horrific injury. I would also presume that their excellent MC abilities meant that they were generally going to a demographic that was less, shall we say “thugged out” to deal with this explicit luridity. Unlike with say Wu Tang Clan who touch on these themes momentarily, it’s fucking relentless with LAW. The death, extreme anatomical trauma, mutilation, horrific injury & necropolis/mortuary fixation at stages of the album become almost laborious, like damning the blood flow with body parts…. it’s just back-to-back. However, LAW are extremely inventive with their expressive arsenal, endlessly innovating new dreadful scenarios & descriptions, it is not static or repetitive in its details but it is intense. Its less offensive because its clearly in the “Battle Rap” format, but the potency & volume of their combative descriptions & its incessancy are pretty fuckin’ grim & will weed a lot of listeners out who would otherwise enjoy this more from a sonic perspective. On one track – “Body Snatchin”, what sounds like real audio footage of a woman breaking down after hearing of a relatives death is used on the chorus over a dank & leering beat. I can imagine this really freaking-out/unsettling many listeners.
Honestly though, whichever way you look at it, it is a hidden & clearly neglected classic of enormous proportion, which considering you can deal with the intensity level of the metaphorical violence & the eerie & saturnine production should appeal across the board to adherents of Hardcore Rap & Rap in general.
I really wonder what happened to these guys as well? as they were seriously talented & devoted technicians obviously deeply impassioned & committed for life. What a complete fuck-up that it did not catch on or was somehow artificially subverted. Many’ many a masterpiece singing the same song. Don’t be a fuckin’ battery hen, track this down & always look beneath the floor-boards cos’ that’s often where the best stuff resides. TRUTH!!!
Label: Explicit Entertainment/Sunset Blvd