Madchild - Dope Sick Review
Posted by Bill Wannop on 08.28.2012
Madchild drops his first solo album, Dope Sick. After many years with his group Swollen Members, can Madchild venture out on his own and recapture the magic on the mic or have the years of drugs truly ruined his career?
Madchild has had his share of success and failure in his life. Being apart of a top underground group Swollen Members, Madchild had early success, started his own label (Battle Axe) and had lots of money. However, Madchild could not control the success and almost threw it all away on drugs. His drug addiction had spiraled out of control and destroyed everything the successful emcee had worked so hard to build with his platinum selling hip-hop group Swollen Members. The fancy cars, lavish houses and rock star luxuries were all gone, as his addiction had consumed over 3 million dollars worth of assets and finances in just over four years.
Madchild has cleaned up his act, got control of his addiction and feverishly wrote and recorded his first ever solo album Dope Sick. The album touches on the many troubles of addition, but does the album show a more grown and evolved Madchild, or have the drugs destroyed what was left of the artists creativity?
1. Devil's Rejects featuring DJ Revolution produced by C-Lance
2. Grenade Launcher featuring Slaine (of La Coka Nostra) & Prevail (of Swollen Members) produced by C-Lance
3. Monster produced by C-Lance
4. Runaway produced by Rob The Viking (of Swollen Members)
5. Oxylude (Interlude) produced by Rob The Viking (of Swollen Members)
6. Wake Up produced by Rob The Viking (of Swollen Members)
7. Battleaxe featuring Dilated Peoples (Evidence + Rakaa Iriscience + Babu); Bishop Lamont; D-Sisive produced by Evidence (of Dilated Peoples)
8. Jitters featuring Dutch Robinson; Matt Brevner produced by Matt Brevner
9. Little Monster Blend produced by Aspect
10. Judgment Day featuring Sophia Danai produced by Chin
11. Dickhead produced by Rob The Viking (of Swollen Members)
12. Fuck Madchild featuring Phil The Agony (of Strong Arm Steady) produced by Aspect
13. Mongoloid produced by Aspect
14. Freak produced by C-Lance
15. Reaper produced by 2oolman
16. Wanted produced by Aspect
One of the problems when members of a group go out and create a solo album is that the album ends of sounding too much like the group albums, minus the other member of the group. Fortunately Madchild went out of his way to ensure that this album did not just sound like a Swollen Members album without Prevail. In order to do this he went outside of the groups longtime producer Rob the Viking to work with some up and coming producers. The difference is noticeable even on the opening track, as producer C-Lance crafts a different type of underground sound, allowing the project to stand on its own legs. C-Lance is a new producer who mostly works with Vinnie Paz, however, he is slowly making waves by producing some great underground hip hop records.
Madchild has always been on point with the lyrics when he is focused, and here he is as focused as he has ever been. The album gets going with “Devil’s Reject” which has Madchild spitting rhymes such as “I go to bed at night and I’m dreaming of revenge/ but I’m tossing and I’m turning, candle burning at both ends/I wake up asking, don’t you hear the laughing/ I don’t hear it, every night I pray to god protect me from these evil spirits”. This track set the tone of the album, which is very personal and from the heart of Madchild.
The album picks up steam with the great track “Grenade Launcher” which features Prevail and Slaine and will sure to be a favorite for any Swollen Member fans out there. This track has C-lance crafting a great beat, and all three emcees support the track with ferocious lyrics. Tracks such as “Monster” and “Runaway” again have Madchild going deep into his troubled mind working on his issues of addiction. Madchild directly touches on his addiction troubles on “Wake Up” where he goes through the history of his addiction from taking those first few pills early in his career, to not being able to function without his fix. The honesty on these track really make them stand out and really show the issues that Madchild had to go through not only to make this album, but to recover from completely spiraling out of control.
“Little Monster Blend” is a song where Madchild touches on many topics, with the beat changing with each verse and topic. It is a good track and has Madchild touching on his being banned from entering America, which no doubt is affecting the group, especially from a touring aspect. On the track Madchild states “I tried to get into the states, they weren’t having it/ going through my bag like a bunch of savages/ The customs agent looking like he’s mad at me/ because I got friends that look like sons of anarchy/ Knew that I’m a rapper, guess he’s not a fan of me/ looking at me crazy with pure insanity/ 10 hours go by I’m not panicking/ I just stood there like I’m a mannequin/ …thinking to myself I cant believe I’m red flagged/ I love the states how the fuck I’m going to get back/its not like I’m smuggling drugs/ all of this because I hang out with a couple of thugs?”
While the album starts off on a good note, it somewhat falters on the latter half of the album. The track “Battle Axe” is somewhat of a letdown, as Dilated Peoples really don’t add much to the track, and the production by Evidence seems to not be anywhere near his greatest work. Tracks “Freak” and “Reaper” are on the weaker side, with awkward beats that do not really fit the rest of the album in terms of quality. Additionally the track “Dickhead” has Madchild talking about how much of an asshole he can be and while it is a funny track, it is hurt by the fact that it has been available online for many years previous and feels somewhat dated.
At the end of the day, Madchild was successful at making an album that does not sound like a typical Swollen Members album. The production is too notch with standout tracks from C-Lance, and Madchild truly touches on his troubles with addiction that nearly cost him his career. While Madchild opens his heart and his mind letting everything out, the album does get somewhat repetitive near the end. Madchild is a dope rhyme spitter and should be complemented for creating a debut solo album where he truly let himself be vulnerable and touched on many personal topics.
The 411: Madchild strayed from his comfort zone and worked with some up and coming underground producers to create his solo album. The production is too notch and Madchild truly touches on his troubles with addiction that nearly cost him his career. While Madchild opens his heart and his mind letting everything out, the album does get somewhat repetitive near the end. Nonetheless this is a good initial solo effort, with Madchild releasing his demons, which will allow him to build upon his next effort.