Blasphemy, the collaborative album from Detroit producer Apollo Brown and West Coast legend Ras Kass, is a thought-provoking and highly personal treatise on the unspoken. No “ism” is out of bounds, no topic too untoward. Whatever you hold sacred isn’t above aggressive inquiry.
Behind the boards, Apollo Brown orchestrates with divine aural vision. Though Blasphemy is his first album with a west coast rapper, he doesn’t retread g-funk synth grooves. He also forgoes the minimal, rubbery bounce popular with the current crop of west coast talent. Amidst a sea of production crafted for the drug-addled turn up, his work is a life preserver, saving ardent hip-hop fans with hard-hitting beats made buoyant by donuts of soul and blues. On his deftly layered suites, drums hit with the force of an unabridged Bible to the dome, the samples masterfully selected and utilized. With Blasphemy, Brown has created MPC gospel, sonic scripture.
Above all, this album displays Apollo Brown & Ras Kass’ undeniable synergy. Their sacred writ is the same, their blasphemy for those who want to think as they nod to the rhythm. When Ras Kass crucifies supposed facts over Apollo’s beats, it’s clear he is the West Coast’s preeminent philosopher. When Apollo’s blaring suites soothe your soul, it’s an ontological fact that he ranks among the best producers in the game. With Blasphemy, the duo has delivered the truth.