“Too many niggas starving in they raps, better get a job, sell crack,” begins the Buffalo bruiser Camoflauge Monk on his 2019 release, Last Real Nigguh 2. As if it was the best-kept secret of rap, Monk has a sound that no others can match. The style is something as if it was a leaned-infused buffalo, the record is heavy and slow but somehow breathtaking as it equips chrome rhymes of diamond proportions.
The production on Last Real Nigguh 2 creates a standoff that dedicates time to forming complexity without trying. Almost as if it was a superhero in the night, the record uses these samples and instrumentals to create a world at a creeping pace. To see producers like DJ Screw become successful through instrumentals that are fine, but also finite in speed taps into a similar vein with Camoflauge Monk. The 23-track powerhouse opens with mad features from ANKHLEJOHN, DJ Optimus Prime, Hus KingPin, Deuce Ellis, and around ten more artists that all contribute to this New York sense of screwed up performances.
The problem that often occurs with primarily instrumental records is that they can become weighted behind the long sections without any vocals which to some listeners, can’t manage attention to the record. Last Real Nigguh 2 rectifies that problem with short track times that seem to lane switch more than Speed Racer. With transitions and loops that rely on the frantic nature and backbone of Western New York that sits right on the icy, Lake Erie. The instrumentals are cold, with a focus on expansion beyond just the west side.
As the track “Blue Birds” strikes, it uses this fantastic sample and church-esque organ that strikes a 90’s styled boom-bap piece that Wu-Tang Clan could have destroyed nearly 30-years ago. The way that Camoflauge Monk revitalizes this love for classic hip-hop while keeping fresh MC’s on the control illustrates an inner drive toward passion. With Buffalo having a rocket blast of rappers spawning from its city, the culture has shifted to send competitional drive as a grasping force. Last Real Nigguh 2 is the perfect Sunday record as the sunlight barely shines through the window and seems to evaporate among the blunt smoke.
While the last frontier of hip-hop may be coming through doomsday instrumentals, Camoflauge Monk holds grace to his side like a 9mm. A weapon of both the mind and hands, Last Real Nigguh 2 is an insightful look into how an underground record can spin like the days of artistic joints to wax.