Sultan Mir & Recognize Ali have created a pure gem, from the jump the synergy between emcee Recognize Ali and Sultan Mir’s soundscapes is apparent to the listener. Sultan Mir has always been someone I admire, he has a very unique golden era sound to his instrumental creations. Somehow to this point Recognize Ali flew under my radar, but man am I glad to have discovered him. He has what sounds like an effortless style but his delivery and bar format is very polished. He also has a golden era flow, which may be why him and Sultan Mir have a great synergy on each song.
“…I’m the last man standing, I suggest you sit to get a proper understanding, you just step to my school of thoughts, can you see through the heart?” The intro song starts off with some thought provoking lyrics, leading us into track two, “World’s Greatest” the lead single off the album. A very soulful song with a catchy hook, “Coming up wasn’t too fun I had no pot to piss in, a white flag and a rifle for the opposition, I kill competition, write the finest compositions, so saying you’re better than me is a contradiction” “It aint where you’re from, it’s where you’re at and since they didn’t let me in I snuck in through the back, told you you couldn’t make it and you believed them, take off them chains you don’t know the price of freedom”
Right off the jump Ali shows you his ability to write intelligent, thought-provoking lyrics while still having a catchy hook and an upbeat sounding song. Not an easy feat, and not something we’ve heard a lot of recently in hip-hop. It’s either hyper-aggressive, or super soft shit. That perfect balance can be hard to achieve as a writer, yet Recognize Ali seems to pull it off with minimal effort. The flow is smooth, Sultan Mir’s instrumental arrangement is soulful and you’ll be hard pressed to find something negative about this song.
“Just Rhyme” is what you’d think, it jumps right into the lyrics, Recognize sounds hungry and eager to show and prove, “I spit the type of shit that leave your vitals split, I’m an idealist… with a touch of gold I got the Midas fist, every line is rich” “I’m godlike, rock stages and tore mics, flow’s colder than the north pole, you definitely catchin’ frostbite”. With scratches provided by DJ TMB, this song is everything hip-hop should be, “this is what you call hip-hop”.
Rainy Dayz features a verse from the legendary Planet Asia, and he holds it down as he always does “my war chant is magic mantra, manipulate matter, my alchemy could build a fortress with many balconies”. Planet Asia aids Recognize Ali in his attempt to bring about another golden age. Scratches are provided by Dj Tray and you can see a trend starting to form, every song holds its own but also plays a part in the bigger picture, that is “Too Visible To See”.
The bangers continue, “how come you new rappers sound the same? It’s a shame. This’ what hip-hop supposed to sound like, if you don’t sound like us then you don’t sound right”. On “The Man” Recognize Ali calls out new school rappers for not paying homage properly, and his statements are well justified. Hip-Hop has lost its way and he appears to be attempting to guide it back to the light.
I have been listening to the album non-stop the past few days, it’s getting heavy rotation. I was trying to find something negative to say about it, but I really can’t. There isn’t a weak link on the album, none of the songs are skippable, they all bump and they all feed into one another expertly.
This album has a very complete feel to it, additional guest verses provided by Tha Soloist on “I Cant Take It”, C Rayz Walz on “So Strange” and UG on “Praise Due” are all a welcome addition to the line-up. None of these features feel out-of-place or forced, the overall feel is very cohesive. The songs with actual written hooks are harmonized well by El Ay, Ron Ron and Davenport Grimes. Scratches are provided by DJ TMB, Dj Tray and Dj Goadman. The mixing and mastering credit goes to Per C Wells.
“Too Visible To See” feels like a love letter to hip-hop, it embodies everything hip-hop means to so many. Sultan Mir & Recognize Ali have a masterpiece under their belts with this one. I’m trying to think back on a project that has been this well-presented, in recent memory nothing comes to mind. Even if this came out in the 90’s it’d stand out as something special. It exceeded expectations for me, if you’re a fan of hip-hop I can’t imagine you not enjoying this release. I give this project a perfect 10/10 score. Definitely a contender for album of the year.