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La Coka Nostra, Masters of the Dark Arts

The musical outputs of La Coka Nostra have been a slow build. Formed in 2005, the hip-hop collective dropped their oft-delayed A Brand You Can Trust to expected fanfare in 2009. Now, reuniting for their second official album—and this one without former member Everlast—Ill Bill, Slaine, DJ Lethal and Danny Boy sprinkle in all the elements of a hardcore underground release with Masters of the Dark Arts.

The aptly titled album finds Ill Bill and Slaine hawking mouthfuls of venomous lyrics and cultural and historical references over shadowy production from Lethal, DJ Premier, Statik Selektah and more. The team of producers provide racing strings and pounding percussion to satisfy the menacing lyricism throughout. Right out of the gate, the vivid, aggressive rhymes of the two MCs are brought to the forefront with “My Universe” and “Creed of the Greedier.” Later, a narrative fire is unleashed with “The Story Goes On,” is a cinematic rushing of synths and furious drums that should be the soundtrack to a heist in a film.

In a curious time for underground hip-hop, informed by the influence of the Internet and the merging of lanes that it creates, La Coka Nostra remain decidedly true to their core with their new album. The veteran crew remind that they are indeed masters of the dark arts. —Adam Fleischer (@AdamXXL)

  • Hip Hopping

    At this juncture—21 years and 10 solo albums in—no other MC has ever rhymed at such a high level this deep into their career. Not Rakim. Not Kool G Rap. Not Slick Rick. Not Big Daddy Kane. Not LL Cool J. No One…. How can u not include KRS One. What bout Too Short. Nas is the truth but he aint the only one to keep his game on pt in this hip hop ish

  • BReal

    This sh*t goes hard…. Rozay knows how to put an album together….His word play and beat selection remains unmatched….#GFID is definately one of his best yet. There’s a little bit of everything on this….Haters can talk all they want but there’s no denying that Ross puts together some of the best albums….#MMG

  • BangEm

    album was hot trash. Is Officer Ricky paying you guys to up his ratings? Shit how the hell are lyrics a XL?

  • jay z

    I wished 50 would have destoryed this pill of shit, someone has to get rid of him

  • http://dipodina.tumblr.com/ iamdina

    originality should be an M or L

  • Nick

    Were the hell is everlast and ill bill in this album… I literally bought it because i thought those two were in it… Fucking pissed.. Sure it is still a great album with danny boy and slaine but way more than words how disappointed I am… Not any were on the album does it say the members of the group.. fucking waste of money.