1.a remedy for all disease or ills; cure-all.
2.an answer or solution for all problems or difficulties
After listening to 12 Step program, it really makes you wonder.
If you haven’t heard by now, Panacea is a hip hop duo based in Washington that consists of MC, Raw Poetic, and producer, K-Murdock, with cuts, compliments of Damu the Fudgemunk. Their signature sound belongs solely to them which makes them stand out from other Hip-Hop groups. 12 Step Program is Panacea’s 5th album. It consists of 12 songs that span over a short 50 minutes. In between songs that robotic woman’s voice from A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders narrates the passing between songs with lines to be pondered on. Raw Poetic is usually a highly introspective and talented emcee, but he really outdoes himself on this one. K-Murdock refrains from providing beats that sometimes clash with Raw’s flow for more simple, but just as melodically vibrant ones that serve as a platform for the verbal onslaught that awaits. This album is, above all, a trip through Raw’s expansive and highly intelligent mind.
Panacea (K-Murdock / Raw Poetic)
The album opens up with a sonic boom on ‘The Long Pull’ as Raw Poetic’s unstoppable flow bombards your mind with subject that is simply impossible to fully grasp the gist of on first listen. It is a well suited introduction as he foreshadows various issues on which he wishes to touch upon throughout the album. He is accompanied by a simple, yet lovely, piano loop and a quiet snare as well as a few cuts.
The thing about this album is that it all seems like one really long song. It’s sometimes difficult to determine where one song has ended and another has started. Raw’s demonstrates a powerful ability to adapt to different styles of beats. He goes from quick deliveries, to singing hooks, to a slower, clearer delivery. Therefore, this album never stumbles on you, it simply goes on and on. You’ll hardly hit the next song button because the transitioning is smooth enough to want to keep you on it. On ‘Sync-In City,’ The theme of syncing in with one’s environment is not only one that is expressed through words on this, but through the sound as well. Every sound in this song is in tune with one another including Raw’s voice. ‘Blue Oceanwave’ has this beautiful rhythm of ukulele chords accompanied by roaring waves that capture the essence of a calm and peaceful, yet thunderously crashing ocean duality as well.
The lead single off this album ‘Immortal,’ contains this constant singing loop of what seems to be a choir sent from the music gods to bless your ears. Raw adapts by adjusting pitch in conjunction with his beat.
The album ends with ‘Incubator Purgatory’ and the concept of rebirth which only furthers adds to the re-playability factor.
Ultimately, this album is not only pleasing to the ears, but to the mind as well. The insightful thoughts of Raw Poetic combined with the floating through space-like ambiance created by K-Murdock is equal to nothing less than a masterpiece. After 5 albums, the consistency of this Hip-Hop group shows no sign of deteriorating in their skill level, but rather, their growth can be well noted. Most Hip-Hop groups can’t make this many albums without starting to run dry and boring, but Panacea pulls it off without ever doubting their own ability. The chemistry between these guys is remarkable and it’s obvious they’ve learned how to harmonize with one another. The various themes explored throughout this album cover Life, Death, and everything in between. In order to fully appreciate it’s value the listener must pay very close attention to the lyrics which, at times, are difficult to keep up with. The overall message of this album is not so directly stated, but it’s left for the listener to interpret in their own way. K-Murdock provides a picture on a canvas that Raw Poetic brings to life. That being said, If you love Hip-Hop, chances are you love Panacea.