Looking like a cross between the Black Panthers and the Zapatistas on the album cover, Da Lench Mob
fully embrace an urban revolutionary rhetoric consistent with their image. Unrepentantly political music of any sort can be difficult to listen to -- particularly when it is almost blindly angry and coming from an inherently (though understandably) biased point of view, and also when it sidesteps some of the subtleties of the issues it raises. Guerillas in tha Mist
, the group's debut album, is guilty of all those things, and yet it is an often brilliant, always invigorating, sometimes infuriating scowl of an album. The album is a relentless onslaught of attitude, but it is not misplaced vehemence or finger-wagging.The final song on the album is titled "Inside tha Head of a Black Man," and that is exactly the psychic and psychological space that Guerillas in tha Mist
occupies: confused, chaotic, complex, righteous, angry, and turbulent, but also permeated with a sense of braggadocio and looseness. Just because they have trouble on their mind doesn't mean they can't swing, too, and Ice Cube
's production does just that, especially on tunes such as "All on My Nut Sac," "Freedom Got an A.K.," and the title track. He loads the songs with rolling fatback bass and funky keyboard riffs, and fills in every empty space with some sort of noise, generally a horn or siren or whistle. When listening to Guerillas in tha Mist
, it is virtually impossible to catch your breath; in fact, it is so powerfully urgent that it feels as if you've just been punched in the gut. But when experiencing something this significant and consequential, you shouldn't want the blow to be pulled just to increase your comfort level.