Phat Kat (also known as Ronnie Euro by the cool kids overseas) has been a player in the rap game since the late '80s, and is perhaps best known today for collaborating with J Dilla. So at this point in his career, you have to understand that this Detroit-born emcee isn't going to give you any trendy shit. There will be no mumbling here, nor any meaningless tall tales. To be blunt? Phat Kat raps his ass off. Enter The S.O.S. Project.
The S.O.S. Project (which stands for "So Old School") is a collaboration between Kat and Berlin native DJ Dister. This project is simply an album containing hardcore boom-bap beats and gritty but lyrical bars, starting on a high note with "S.O.S," a grandioso track highlighted by Kat's lyrical wordplay. "The rap game full of babies they need a sitter/ Niggaz so hood, bed bugs and critters/ If you think about trying something reconsider/ I lace you with them cement 1s and toss yo' ass in the river," he raps. In "Revolt for Change," Kat turns a Detroit tragedy into a politically conscious rap. "They killed Aiyana Jones trying to make a TV show/ They kicked in the door of her home, cops gun discharged/ She was seven, mistrial, he didn't get charged," he raps. DJ Dister keeps it going with "The Monument," a groovy head-nodder cut with guest bars courtesy of DJ Dez: "Now every mic get blazed up/ Say you from the D now they fixing they face up/ We made that happen facilitating the ruckus/ While still explaining to others/ Dedication to the suckas."
"Smoke," "Shots," and "Jazz," are melodic instrumentals while "W.T.N." is a hard-hitting posse cut which features La Peace and Ron D. In short, this album wins because of its phenomenal lyrical content, stellar production, and the lack of gimmicky, made-for-radio content.
Note: Last week, Metro Times hosted an exclusive premiere stream of The S.O.S. Project. It's still up there for you to check out. The album was released by Below System Records on April 14 and is available at area stores and online outlets, including digital formats.