Uncovered Remains is a throwback to an era when hard beats were laid down and emcees just used to spit furiously back and forth, letting their words (not their egos) do the talking. Though a concept album in theory, its delivery is strictly boom-bap and lyrical, featuring dark, melodic production from the likes R1, Benzie and Al Tarba; as well as a deadly onslaught of hardcore rhymes from Ide and Alucard.
Many young listeners amongst us won’t remember when making Hip-Hop music wasn’t seen as a quick and easy gateway into the mainstream, like it is today. Reputations were built on serious talent: Emcees, producers and DJs had to graft, often performing at block parties, with minimal equipment and receiving no income, long before signing a record deal and putting out an album was even considered.
Uncovered Remains feels like the type of the album to have come out of the said era, with Ide and Alucard stating a serious claim for greatness from a dreary corner of the underground scene. Though the songs were reportedly recorded between 2007 and 2011, there’s a definite raw, old-school essence here that can be sensed immediately from the Jedi-Mind-Tricks-sounding intro and then the quite brilliant ‘Wall Of Troy’.
The artists’ ideas contribute to the single overall theme of building and progression, paying tribute to the ancient craft of stonemasonry (“Stonecutters hold the key to life/” (‘Wall Of Troy’); “Stonecutters/ Master masons / Soul brothers / Never underestimate the power of creation/” (‘Stonecutters’)). Though stonemasons are often linked with freemasons and incorrectly referred to as the same thing, it is important to note that this album is (thankfully) not another unresearched rambling about Illuminati.
It’s actually very fortunate that this excellent collection of tracks even saw the light at all: Word has it many of the songs on Uncovered Remains were nearly lost, while others were salvaged without the final mixing. While many artists would’ve struggled to overcome such a setback, though, Ide and Alucard seem to have carried on making music for the better, with their chemistry very apparent.
Indeed, whether close friends or not outside of music, Ide and Alucard certainly seem united in their passion and abilities for rhyme. I feel like I am not able to express enough how talented these guys are in a single review; they each remind me a lot of Afu-ra and Jeru The Damaja in the aggressive and metaphysical nature of their deliveries and lyrics, and warrant numerous listens to appreciate the depth of their talents.
“We bring that true rap/ Boom-bap/ Our sound is nuts/ And it’s far from that new crap that’s found in clubs /” they say on ‘Down With Us’ and, collectively, the album backs it up. Eighteen tracks in length, and for not one minute does Uncovered Remains falter: The lyrics are a wonderful blurring of impetuosity and thoughtfulness, delivered in a versatile manner with hooks that are clever and memorable at the same time. To be frank, this album is ill as fuck!
It saddens me greatly that works such as this get largely slept on by the ignorant media; on the flip side, though, I feel privileged to have come across this album by word of mouth when very little has been said about it (cheers, Raul!) To hell with weak rhymes and flat beats, this is Hip-Hop right here, folks; and while many will often mistake popularity for true ability, Uncovered Remains is a real statement of two emcees and their producers’ talent and luster, doing what they do purely for the love of the culture.