Published Apr 20, 2018Toronto hip-hop duo Hard to Kill's eponymous debut isn't a horrorcore album, but it sounds menacing enough at times to make a Juggalo antsy. Take key track "Slime," which finds Teddy Fantum spiting show-stopping lines like "Suck me off like a vampire / Better not use your fangs" and "Don't pull up on me, I'm cynical / And I'm not here in the physical," while his Hard to Kill partner G Milla joins him on a chant-worthy chorus (Milla's own verses on that track being far less memorable). Aside from Fantum's spooky imagery, that track's oil slick-dark production — featuring nursery rhyme chimes, concussive bass, nebulous synths and more— is the stuff nightmares are born from.
Same goes for "Sounds Like," which begins with distorted see-sawing strings and needlepoint-piercing horn samples that quickly give way to crackling 808 percussion and Auto-Tune distorted vocals that sound like ghosts in the machine. Meanwhile, Milla drops some downright eerie lines on closer "Torino," spitting: "I'm possessed / She's obsessed / She undress, out the dress / I finesse, I'm the worst."
None of this is a superficial gimmick, though it easily could've veered into that territory in lesser hands. That's not to say Hard to Kill is an immaculate classic. As vividly talented a lyricist as Fantum can be, he drops his share of clunkers on "Torino." Meanwhile, Milla's "I'm lit like a omelette / Drivin' in my whip," hook on "Omlit," is so laughable that I hope Hard to Kill was striving for Atlanta-style satire.
Aside from a few flubs, Hard to Kill stands out as ambitious, distinctive and unrelenting dark. If this formidable duo can exorcise some of their flaws, they'll have the potential to unleash some immortal hits before long. (Independent)