Review: MSTRKRFT – Fist of God

by Winston "Stone" Ford


Fist of God

Can hip-hop and soul exist over 120 beats per minute? MSTRKFT sure hopes so. The Toronto elctro duo recruits some unlikely partners for their latest disc, which pairs some of the best known and unknown urban musicians over their delectiable trash electro beats. Does it work? Why yes it does.

The lineup is impressive: Lil’Mo, N.O.R.E., E-40, Ghostface Killah and John Legend round out some of the known cats that are featured on this disc. At first the thought of these parings made me cringe, but after listening to this disc I gotta say, it’s the best thing to happen to hip-hop in years.

I’m not going to lie, a lot of these projects are long on vision and short on execution and deserve a FAIL. However, MSTRKFT  crafted their signature sound over their guests’ contributions to the point that it almost felt natural and not forced. E-40 feels at home rapping over “Click Click,” even bragging at the beginning: :How many rappers do you know can get on an uptempo 120 mang…and still gas it?” Ghostface Killa gets sampled on “Word Up,” and the result has the dude bouncing over house hi-hats like a lowrider. Lil’Mo, the only female guest on the album, simply does her job on “It Aint’ Love,” adding a feminie touch to the start of the album. John Legend’s “Heartbreaker” is another standout track, featuring his deep vocals over dancefloor ready floor filler based around some soulful piano loops.

The standout track on this album though, has to go to my homie Jahmal from fellow Toronto band The Carps. If you don’t know, the dude probably as one of the best voices in North America, and he’s featured in not one, but two songs on the disc, “So Deep,” and the excellent “Breakaway.” Also of note: even though the sound is futuristc, there is no trace of Autotune or vocoder to be found.

The verdict: Of course Fist of God isn’t going to be everybody’s cup of tea. If you haven’t danced to house or electro in your life or you prefer your hip-hop over Primo beats, you will find much to be desired here. However, if you’re an outside the box thinkier who thrives on the marriage of different culutres and genres, like yours truly, Fist of God is and aural experience and quite possibly one of the best CDs of 2009.