This is the 9th full-length album from Chicago emcee Novatore. Coming up as a member of the Infamous Crew, he’s also built up an impressive solo career in the last 6 years by dropping 4 EPs & 7 albums, the previous being the C-Lance produced Embrace the Darkness II: Explorers of Experience last year. He just teamed up with A.M. Early Morning a couple months back for the Stu Bangas-produced collab effort Kingdom of Criminality & is celebrating the 1-year anniversary of his last solo effort in the form of Master of Morbid Imagery.
After the “Ascend the Heavens” intro, Chris Crack & Moecyrus tag along for the spacey boom bap opener “God Level” produced by Young Bangas talking about burning lots of shit whereas “Sentient” works in a high-pitched vocal sample thanks to C-Lance flexing how elaborate he is. A.M. Early Morning comes into the picture for “Chemical Experiments” comparing themselves to mad scientists over a rap rock instrumental from none other than Stu Bangas, but then “Split” throws in a crooning loop & mixes some dusty drums in talking about having 2 personalities.
Meanwhile on “Cyborg vs. Nazi”, we have Novatore telling the story from the point of view of a cyborg being a prisoner of war over some uncanny boom bap production leading into “Lab Rats” going into battle rap turf over an instrumental kin to Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind. The song “Eat Their Brains” with Moecyrus finds the 2 paying homage to my mother’s favorite song of all-time “Wonderwall” by Oasis over a boom bap beat with a dirty bass-guitar riff while the penultimate track “Can’t Relate” with Wildcard has a more heinous sound to it talking about not having respect for those who don’t have a passion for their craft. “Sci-Fi” with Eto & Lord Goat ends the album with a futuristic Johnny Slash instrumental to get gruesome lyrically.
To hear how much Novatore continuing to level up as an MC throughout the years has been incredible to watch & Master of Morbid Imagery further solidifies that. The performances from the features are 50/50, but the subject matter definitely lives up to the name & the production is consistently raw.