Mickey Boston & Regimental Oneton – Enter the 36 Tentacles [Album Review]
I met Mickey Boston back in 2010, at the Spit The Truth Open Mic sessions, where some of the crew at Elementality made its first steps in the local Hip Hop scene. An outspoken advocate of indigenous peoples and of conscious Hip-Hop, he also delved into B-boy photography and made some amazing videos with graffiti artists. Since then, he completed two masters degrees and after that colossal amount of work, in the space of three months, he released two albums; the first one with John Wholetrain and Melo Malo for their group called Journeymen. Now, after working for a while with visual artist Regimental Oneton, they foray into unchartered waters with “Enter the 36 Tentacles”, a tribute to both the Wu-Tang and octopi.
“The Brosk” (one of Mickey’s multiple AKAs) is an unflinching force for consciousness within the Hip-Hop movement. A lot of his material reflects his political and social vision as he writes and raps about a variety of issues with scholarly ease. A big fan of the Sox, he is also a son of Kashmere, a war-torn region on the border of India and Pakistan. This has made him more reflexive on the plight of oppressed peoples and the use of music as a tool to emancipate the listener. Regimental Oneton, on the other hand, was cut from a different cloth. Mostly known as a visual artist linked with the Under Pressure and street art scenes, he left the music industry a few years ago. From that point on, he’s been channelling his energy into his art which produces a lot of controversial reflexions on pop culture icons. Clint Eastwood, ODB and vaginas are among his master pieces. One of his Kim Jong Il posters is hanging in my living room and when I get visits, it is an eyebrow raiser.We found his art and his colorful personality so compelling, that he became the first person we ever interviewed on video.
So when I pulled out these 36 tentacles from the plastic wrapping, I expected a slimey cacophony of contradictory thoughts. What I got was a well dozed unified body of mind-sucking lyricism. Having an activist rapper join a graffiti supervilain was not such a bad idea after all. Here we see Mickey swimming with the sharks, outside of his zome of comfort, while his partner-in-crime remains his uncompromising self. They bring different characters with very diverse motivations to life, which in some cases may confuse the listener. This is not easy listening; if you tune out, you may misunderstand the message.
The album flows very smoothly from track to track. The beat selection is very soulful and mellow at the same time, and you don’t get tired of the samples and breaks that are generously layered, mostly produced by Xeptional. You can tell these guys are having fun over the types of beats they like – that good ole’ boom bap.
Mickey (pronounced Mic-key) and Reggie are playful with the format, comfortably syncing their flows to the beats. Mickey’s raspy voice blends perfectly with Oneton’s raggamuffin verses and catchy melodic hooks.
Though the CD has been obselete for a while, this album is definitely bringing it back from the dead with some awesome octopus-inspired cover art brought to you by Regimental himself.
While the visual artist shows he can raise the bar and not get outrapped by lyrical master Mickey Boston, for this conscious rapper, it is all about adapting to his counterparts’ very different style. You add the quality instrumentals and art work and mix it all in and you’ve got yourself a piece of tentacular goodness. To be served with lots of lemon.
Check out The Gazette’s piece on “Enter the 36 Tentacles“:
Our friends at DISQC made an amazing photo-documentary on the Making of the album: