A casual listen will obscure the stronger aspects of Delaware-born/Philly-based Hezekiah's work on I Predict a Riot, the producer/MC's second LP. The word riot generally indicates that the contents therein would boast boisterous, screeching beats and perhaps rage-lined verses about the music industry, or maybe Dick Cheney. Guess again. I Predict's productions, most of which feature Hezekiah and a guest at the mixing board, are chilled and organic, packing more guitar samples than cuts. They call for close scrutiny. On "Looking Up," take in the rich neo-soul choruses from Bilal, as Hezekiah, seemingly often out of breath, well, looks up while recounting a presuccess plight racked with suicidal thoughts, poverty, and lost love. And he doesn't stop thinking about the last: Although "If One Falls" features bare-fisted social criticism, "Single Now" counters such subject matter with bland, oft-tread one-night-stand chatter. The song boasts a beat centered around loose hand drum taps and scattered maracas, begging for focused listens. But still, Hezekiah should take a second look at Gang Starr's "Ex-Girl to the Next Girl" for cues about being clever with the ladies.
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