Criticized for its dated JP Beats style, Canibus’ Fait Accompli LP (2014) was held back a little by its basic production and its many loaded interludes, but it remains one of the Jamaican American emcee’s strongest album statements in years. For his 2015 album, Time Flys, Life Dies… Phoenix Rise, Canibus has made a wiser choice of producer, enrolling the Wu-Tang-affiliated Bronze Nazareth, who combines samples and drums for a hoppy, dark opera-esque score with more variation. In keeping with Fait Accompli‘s theme of world corruption, Time Flys takes it one step further with Bis warning of the resultant global paradigm shift, if remedial action is not taken in time. His prognosis of the apocalyptic and apocryphal state of man is largely reserved for the second half with the first highlighting power raps and lyrical olympics.
A good spread of guests join Canibus from start to finish. Mikey Destruction and old schoolers Devastating Tito (from the Fearless Four) and DJ Slice rough up the mic in track two before handing it to Bis to share industry stories in “Canibus Autobiography (Part 01).” Solid songs featuring Killah Priest, King of the Dot battle rapper Dizaster and beat legend Pete Rock follow including the “Kings Sent For Me” mob cut with ‘Samurydas’ Raekwon, Kurupt, Craig G and a rapping Bronze Nazareth. After “Interlude Dos”‘s quick sermon, the wise foretellings ensue. Bis and Pyrit predict the fall of the modern day Roman Empire-like power structure, and runaway consumerism, uninspired hip hop, and other mankind plagues come to the fore in “This Is Rome” and “Mr. Montana… Thank You.” Canibus’ last most important messages are about slaying the malicious, mind-numbing media monster and accepting less than total control of life, and of course around, in between, on top and underneath everything is Bis’ penchant for mind-blowing lyricism packed with science, classical fiction imagery and archaic, foreign language and lingo.
A skosh detrimental but a mark of Canibus’ style, Time Flys‘ shortage of heavy choruses set it back slightly, but still, the professor-like rapper, who has made a career being sociologically meaningful, is finding greater relevance with this and his last album in our shaky, post-Great Recession age. Scoring very well in every criterion of the music, Time Flys, Life Dies… Phoenix Rise is Canibus sticking to his guns, putting on a powerfully sophisticated show, and envisioning a better world for everyone to live in.