Imperial Letters Of Protection

The second avant-rap political extravaganza from Nephilim Modulation Systems will either irritate or involve depending how much you like “apocalyptic dark and gloomy shit”... or Michael Moore.

By Demented Toddler

"Is my music really on some apocalyptic dark and gloomy shit / or am I part of some now freedom music?” This rhetorical question marks NMS’ tipping point: depending on your answer, Imperial Letters Of Protection will either irritate or involve. It’s the second avant-rap political extravaganza from Nephilim Modulation Systems: Big Juss, formerly of Company Flow, and Orko Elohiem. Their first, titled from Ecclesiastes Woe to Thee O Land Whose King is a Child, is one of turns strands in America’s recoil from its own war on terror.

Like Woe to Thee, Imperial Letters can be heavy going. It’s theatrical, propagandist, and its presentation of anti-Bush, anti-establishment politics isn’t always fresh. Juss and Elohiem share the tendency of many contemporary rap worthies to spit verbally complex polysyllabic tirades which turn out to be conceptually facile, nonsensical, unhelpful. What sounds like an intricate web of deception unravels, on closer examination, into so many discontinuous bits of string. And worse, lines like “So every nuclear winter the Bin Ladens and George exchange christmas cards / Why do you think Saddam’s most trusted warring regiments called the republican guard?” risk indulging Bush's spurious partnering of his foes.

Like Michael Moore, the great, flawed leader of this movement, NMS have a tendency to drift into wild renditions of ill-linked lists, which suggest, but don't substantiate connections, conspiracies.  "Privatelisation and depopulisation and federalisation and deregulisation and globalisation – request this on your favourite radio station… and I bet you it won't get nary rotation" – yes, but not because of your politics. This sort of nonsense is so hard to take seriously that it recalls Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s savaging of the liberal F.A.G.s' anti-‘corporationy’ politics in Team America: World Police. That film's irreverence and even handed approach in lambasting all sides proved that comedy’s trojan horse can be a much more effective vehicle than this overenthusiastic steamrollering. It is a lesson NMS might do well to heed.

The album can be pretty gruelling musically – Nothing Makes Sense is about as appealing a skipping CD – there is a lot of “experimental” business going on. As with most experiments, some things work, and some don’t. It's best enjoyed in small, judiciously selected doses. But there is enjoyment to be had. There are some really fun scattershot drum patterns, and entertainingly ominous sound effects. Perhaps the best way to approach it is to take the record as seriously as Busta Rhymes’ apocalypse-themed records of the 90s: extinction level event, When Disaster Strikes. You didn’t really expect the end of the world was nigh when you heard There's Only One Year Left! and nor do you when you hear NMS’ Time Ends. Both Busta and Big Juss have their rapid ranting driven by the cachet of catastrophe, and sure enough, Strike Back will make you want to 'tear da roof off the White House'.  But only for four minutes and seventeen seconds.
Name posted 25 January 2013 (06:09:48)
I don't think you understood the politics of this CD properly. Your critique on the musical aspect of this CD was on point but I urge you to look into the 'new world order.'
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