Serengeti & Polyphonic – Terradactyl

January 01, 1970



and Polyphonic come off as one of the more cerebral rapper/producer duos around
on their second collaboration. Nothing on Terradactyl charges at listeners. The beats are too sophisticated to come off as heavy 4/4
grooves. Polyphonic (Will Freyman) prefers instead to shape songs out of
synthetic blends that often lean on just the four rather than the two and four
of the beats. Serengeti (David Cohn) doesn’t mumble his rhymes, but he often
speaks softly, as if he’s either delivering his observations in confidence or
as if his thoughts are being broadcast from inside his head, just as they’re
taking shape. Depending on the sound system used to play Terradactyl, Serengeti’s performance could potentially get lost
among the ambient beats and washes. Luckily, his lyrical gifts and frequent
rapid-fire delivery have the verbal muscle power that intrigues you enough to
inspire further investigation.


The album’s
opening melody sounds like it was played on tuned PVC tubes, percussive but
melodic. It’s immediately followed by a straight vocal track, “Playing in the
Subway,” where vocalist Renee-Louise Carafice joins Serengeti for a moody duet.
“Steroids” is probably the only rap to name drop the Russian theatre troupe the
Bolshoi, and this happens quickly during a deep narrative of a broken family
and the contrasts among the cast of characters. Serengeti must’ve known how
provocative he’d sound in “My Negativity” when he keeps repeating the first two
syllables of the second titular word, making it sound like a hot-button n-word.
Again, he’s here to stir your conscious, not to show how bad he is. That
message comes gradually throughout Terradactyl,
but it also leaves a stronger impression that way.


Standout Tracks: “Steroids,”
“Patiently.” MIKE SHANLEY


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