Darc Mind – “Symptomatic of a Greater Ill”

Remember mid-90s hip-hop? Here’s your chance to discover it anew. Literally.Who would have expected the San Francisco Bay Area’s Anticon Records to resurrect a shelved relic of mid-1990s New York City Hip-Hop? Nobody at all, which makes the release of Darc Mind’s Symptomatic of a Great Ill, recorded between 1995-1997 for Loud Records/RCA – previously home to the Wu-Tang Clan, Big Punisher and Xzibit, among others – a pleasant surprise release in 2006. The New York Hip-Hop duo’s one and only album failed to see the light of day when Loud folded before the release date. But thanks to Anticon, the world will now be privy to MC Kevroc’s ridiculous multi-syllabic rhyme flow and DJ/producer G.M. Web D’s – aka X-Ray – unique brand of bass-heavy boom-bap. Perhaps the most satisfying element of Symptomatic… is Kevroc’s unusually deep and rumbling voice, which he commands with seemingly effortless finesse as he weaves his lyrics nimbly over X-Ray’s productions. And X-Ray is a veteran beatsmith, with his most notable production work coming on MF Doom’s career resurrecting and now legendary “Operation Doomsday.” While Symptomatic… is a solid Hip-Hop album, it carries greater appeal when it is understood in relation to the era of Hip-Hop in which it was produced. Taken on its own in 2006, it remains an interesting album, but one to which the majority of today’s Hip-Hop listening audience may not be particularly receptive.-Aaron Shier