Coming four years after his solo debut, Righteous Fury sees Kansas resident Matt Maddox use and improve the penmanship and raw delivery style that has earned him a loyal legion of fans. The album weighs in at a hefty 19 tracks but don’t start worrying about the valuable megabytes it might swallow up on your mp3 player. The 57-minute running time proves that this accomplished MC has a knack of delivering his message at bullet like speed, with the next hard hitting track waiting eagerly in the chamber.
Continuing with the ‘shots fired’ analogy, Matt Maddox takes aim at mainstream hip hop in opening track No Country For Old Men. Matt names and shames the main culprits for the demise of the genre. Needless to say, those that wear skinny jeans, hawk their sexuality or have less bars than a ballet studio are all fair game. While I love this song, an opening line like “My generation paid our dues…” did have me slightly worried about the material on the rest of the album. Some acolytes of the Golden Age fall into the unfortunate trap of reminiscing so much about times past and grumbling about the current state of music, that they have no real content apart from reminiscing about times past and grumbling about the current state of music. Luckily, Mr Maddox is not one of those artists. Instead he seems to understand the best way to pay homage is to showcase elements such as lyricism and in-your-face production.
As an artist, Matt is as versatile as his thorough underground roots allow him to be. That is to say you won’t find a twerk or trap song on this project, which is more of a testament to his integrity rather than to his limitations. Instead, what you get is flashes of the different facets that he is made up of. BARbarians is a hi-octane, horn heavy track featuring Godilla, UG and Born Unique. Work featuring Mina Fedora sees Matt tell the story of perhaps all our lives over a guitar instrumental, while conceptual track Reality’s a Bitch allows him to use a relationship metaphor to explore his reality over a dark, violin laden beat.
With production by a raft of producers including Sultan Mir, Skammadix, C Lance and Edd Bundy, you’ll find boom bap beats, cinematic strings, some pretty awesome guitar riffs and even a sample from Queen.
Righteous Fury is a valiant effort if the aim was to get rap in a chokehold and drag it back to its heyday. Well worth a listen.