East Coast stalwarts Keith Murray and Canibus follow last year’s EP with In Gods We Trust, Crush Microphone To Dust, their first album as The Undergods. The duo are undoubtedly both talented wordsmiths, but their lyrical intensity often exceeds the feeble production on the album.
Though they’re talented spitters, ‘Bis and Keith’s relentless verbal assault grows tiresome at some points over the album’s hour-plus runtime. Keith Murray’s dense piles of words still entertain, but the album suffers most from Canibus’s overblown self-seriousness. Weak choruses are a problem throughout. But when other rappers join Keith and ‘Bis on the mic, things loosen up considerably. The drippy funk of “The Guilty Will Pay” powers energetic guest verses from Erick Sermon and a scene-stealing Crooked I. “Show ‘Em What Crazy Is” brings a frantic Tech N9ne verse over haunted house organs. The Undergods can excel given the right beat: Jake One’s liquid groove on “Undergods Roll” perfectly supports Keith and ‘Bis verbose threats.
In Gods We Trust delivers exactly what fans of Canibus and Keith Murray in 2011 expect: pseudo-intellectual scientific lyrical rap with no concessions to the radio. If you’re looking for Hot 97-ready hooks or a new dance, keep it moving. —Aaron Matthews