Potentially the rawest truths that you’ll hear on record for the remainder of the year, the philosophies behind the wordplay in Apex Zero’s almost entirely self-produced début album Reality Provoking Liberation is if anything a reflective experience for any listener. Dropping from the Design Chaos label, the West-Londoner vocally exposes the world’s evils through thoughtful and dynamic lyricism. Self described as a “Neo-hardcore Tru Skool Hip-Hop Emcee” he follows last year’s début solo mixtape The Pulse of the Awakening to feature with Triple Darkness’ newest member Iron Braydz, Hasan Salaam, Amy True (of Caxton Press), Invincible Armour (Zulu Nation/DMC) and First and Last’s OMeza Omniscient.
The album starts with Head vs Heart (intro). A sampled speech proposing an uprising of morality instantly embeds the socio-political ideology behind the 15 track album. Shackled By The Pound is the first demonstration of Apex’s powerfully intuitive bars, protesting the metaphorical shackles the people are under and inciting an uprising that only a revolution could bring in a determined integrity to expose the inexcusable inequalities of society over a poignant piano in the beat. Following this comes Absolute Zero with an apocalyptic instrumental, spat over with a livid rage and a cold-hearted indifference to the artists out there rapping thoughtlessly/mainstream artists with lyrical conformity.
In Power Source his lyrics dictate the needs necessary to recreate the current system with incisive lyrics spoken like a prospector. He calls on the majority of society that’s trapped on the lowest level of the pyramid of prosperity to unify against the higher powers keeping them down. The beat takes a more sentimental flow in Our Times, enhanced a sweetly stroked violin and the expressive vocals of Kyra who features on the chorus. Apex spits with more sincerity about the circumstances of life prevailing the people from progression to a better position with an indisputable pessimism, alongside OMeza Omnicient’s more optimistic verses spoken with respectively suave delivery.
Walk On Water plays another considerately soft backing track supporting the lyrical spray provided by Apex, Seepa and OMeza Omnicient. Determinedly bellowing for the dismissal of conformity, they call on you to break from the mould devised by those in control. Apex returns with rhymes without respite in Don’t Follow The Image, again ousting the illusion of reality instilled by the higher powers, featuring Amy True who gives the track an emotive solution brought by unification, and to question the lies and conventions drilled into the populous. The most horrifying set of verses heard in the release are spat in Three Children, which deals with disturbing issues within the global community in gruesome detail – sti’s, prostitution, drugs, murders, kidnaps and torture to name a few. Apex accounts over six and a half minutes three intensely terrifying scenarios that prove most consequential to the children. The unsuppressed realness truly makes this the most touching track on the record. The relaxing tempo in Obtain Bearing gives you breath to recover and reflect from the scarring verses, and takes a turn to discuss spirituality. He denounces “guns and slaughter” and the war crimes being committed worldwide. He shares his insights and revelations for a better self.
The Everything Must Change skit samples Darcus Howe’s live BBC interview following the London Riots that took place on August 2011, describing it as an insurrection of the masses. The events occurred as a reaction to the police shooting of Mark Duggan, fuelled by pre-existing social inequalities. The clearest demonstrator of an already clear revolutionary ideology throughout the record is portrayed most aggressively by the thought-provoking wordplay in Chaotic Revolt.
“Let’s raise hell so we can murder Satan;”
Apex Zero vividly maintains his disparity borne out of a raging political discontentment, remaining vigilant at the hypocrisy’s of the government and preaching mass organisation of the people to join a revolution against the establishment/oppressors. In the outro he talks directly to his audience, persuading unification “to overthrow the corrupt system” and citing that even violence will be a necessity.
“… Yes, there will be unfortunate casualties / but real revolution ain’t like a film or a book / it’s ugly and gritty / but it’s all for the greater good…”
In A Meeting of the Continents Iron Brayds lets loose a rugged flow that announces further hidden truths and government hypocrisy’s. Apex then follows with ferocity in a vicious verse before Hasan Salaam takes over with a unique, slick style in a vigorous bout of words running with the anti-political subject matter on top of DJ Fortune’s production. The instrumental sets the fast lyrical pace for the next track, Spray The Roof, for featured artists OMeza Omniscient and Invisible Armour as well as Apex. Together the trio shed more anguish at the incongruence that’s been conjured by the world leaders. Growth (Slay The Basilisk) is spoken with more aspiration in ethos with the harmonious beat, acknowledging the power within the people to bring about change with an emotional bout of bars. He confides his past that has ultimately influenced his quest for a rebellion, with such compassion that it makes his proposals hard to ignore. The finale of the record Reality Provoking Liberation ends in an austere manner, as OMeze Omniscient features with Apex a last time to spit similarly anti-political, anti-warfare, anti-racial and radical concepts of thought.
As stated at the beginning, this is more than just an album to muse to. Its intention is to bring about a new mentally aware consciousness that’s being prohibited in ways unimaginable.
The album can be bought and heard from the First and Last Bandcamp site, as well as available for purchase on the suspect packages site:
The official Reality Provoking Liberation album launch party takes place the 7th of December, supported by Caxton Press and Iron Braydz.
Review by Ethan Everton