Verbal Kent – Save Yourself

January 01, 1970

(Rap Mechanics)


Chicago-based MC Verbal Kent isn’t exactly a hip-hop
household name, and maybe this is partially his own fault – in his press
release, he claims to have never “shopped” one of his independently released
records. But money, fame, and popularity don’t seem to matter to the rapper.
Instead, he focuses on using his sinister sounding voice to spit
thought-provoking lyrics while working with producers and other MCs of the
highest caliber, known and unknown. In other words, as his new album, Save
, attests to, it’s the craft of hip-hop that concerns him, not the


Save Yourself opens with the ominously intoned
“Same,” a track which finds Kent explaining that, “This isn’t the same song spit
to the same beat.” Indeed. Of course, neither is “Take,” a bouncing number
whose charm can be credited to the legendary Pete Rock’s bombastic old-school
beat production. “Give me that, give me back real hip-hop. Give me that, take
that real hip-hop” goes the chorus. One can only imagine that Kent was just as
excited to work with Sadat X and Edo G on “My City,” a song on which each
defends and extols his city (Chicago, NYC, and Boston accordingly). Granted,
Sadat can make almost any track sound nice, but Marco Polo’s textured,
luxurious beat offers a lot of mileage here.


Of course, everything in between is pretty solid as well –
and don’t ignore “Last Laugh” near the end of the album, featuring Masta Ace
and a Madlib on mushrooms beat by Varan. Verbal Kent remains a champion of the
underground, and he’s probably not going to crack the top 40 anytime soon. As
long as he keeps making solid albums like this, he’ll get what he deserves and
craves, in his own words, “to be part of hip-hop history.”



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