Deciphering ‘S.I.C.’ [Album Review]

May 18 2011

Kicking off Strange Music’s 2011 series of EPs, Krizz Kaliko’s S.I.C. promised to give fans a new perspective on the multi-talented vocalist. Shrouded in mystery, the EP’s abbreviation remained a secret until just recently, when it was revealed that it stood for Samuel’s Identity Crisis. The very cover of the EP raised questions as to just what Krizz Kaliko had in store for listeners. Would this be something completely different? Did an identity crisis mean that Kaliko’s music would suffer from indecision? Not a single track was released prior to the release of S.I.C., further building the anticipation. With mixed feelings over his Shock Treatment album, fans expected Kaliko to step it up on this release. The EP presented Kaliko with a challenge of sorts. He wouldn’t have an entire album to showcase his skill, instead, he would have to say everything he wanted to in just six tracks. Cutting down a full length album is tough enough, let alone an EP. Then again, a shorter release could have also given Kaliko the motivation to focus solely on those 6 tracks, and in turn give fans the best he had to offer. With Kaliko seeking a center of balance for himself, a closer look at S.I.C. reveals more than just a conspirative code name.

Visting Dr. Suwandi on the opening skit, Kaliko explains his dilemma. He has been struggling with an identity crisis that may or may not stem from a desire to live forever. The question then becomes, is Kaliko looking to live forever or is he afraid of death? In what may be one of the biggest risks he’s ever taken on a release, Kaliko opens S.I.C. with what is possibly the best song on the EP. “Immortal” is the embodiment of everything Krizz Kaliko has to offer as an artist. Creeping in like a heartbreaking children’s melody, the track’s haunting atmosphere gives Kaliko incentive to layer on the several different emotions he is feeling. In a soft and almost timid voice, Kaliko asks, “If I poured my heart out, would you leave it on the floor?”. What follows is Kaliko’s remarkable ability to transcend the limits of a regular MC, and use both of his vocal talents to paint a somber and soul bearing picture. In one of YoungFyre’s finest moments, the production builds to a staggering crescendo that pulls from piano notes and ghostly drums in the distance. As Kaliko asks for the world to remember him forever, he manages to create the peak of S.I.C. with his absolutely beautiful delivery on the hook:

“And when you play my song, would you just pass it along
Continue to love me even when I’m gone?”

In a single moment, every single joy, fear, doubt, and certainty in Kaliko’s being is poured out through his voice. While the rest of S.I.C. carries itself on a superior level overall, “Immortal” stand as its masterpiece.

Never one to be too serious, Kaliko brings the party back on “Rain Dance”. With Soleternity taking production credits, this track is Kaliko’s answer to all of the radio stripper jams. Sounding more like a track from Shock Treatment, “Rain Dance” has Kaliko flowing in typical fashion while recanting stories from his strip club experiences. The drinks pour out, and the money flies on this one. “Animal” quickly takes S.I.C. back into a more threatening realm with Kaliko digging deep into his barbaric tendencies, and unleashing hell on weaker MCs. With progressive like production provided by Seven, “Animal” feeds off of its grungy and unfiltered sounds. Borrowing from Tech N9ne’s verse on “All Gas No Brakes”, Kaliko takes the line “I am such an animal, I am not a human being”, and flips it into an entire track. The cold drilling sounds of “Animal” practically place you in the center of a mechanical slaughtering by Seven. With two production credits on S.I.C., Seven once again impresses on “Medicine”. The back to back combo of Seven hits gives S.I.C. a strong halfway point that includes Tech’s first appearance on “Medicine”. The full throttle ride of the track is accelerated by the use of electric guitars and live drums. Kaliko and Tech pair up to face their anxieties, and the many prescriptions to battle them. Between women, alcohol, and drugs, the two seemingly have their hands full. Tech’s speedy rap takes a back seat, as he instead grooves to the guitars and let’s his emotions loose on a verse marked by frustration. “Medicine” drives S.I.C. as one of Kaliko’s more diverse and intricately crafted releases. Closing out S.I.C., is a track that allows Krizz Kaliko to mesmerize listeners with one his catchiest hooks to date. Built on roaring organs and giant synths, “Down” turns out to be a fitting end. Marking the definitive demise of both Krizz Kaliko and Tech N9ne, “Down” is fun and unbelievably groovy track that lifts spirits despite its morbid subject matter. Not holding back at all, Tech N9ne manages to sneak this one away from Kaliko with a memorable feature. Changing his pitch and knocking out syllables in a verbal assault, Tech can’t help but take command. Kaliko goes out in a blaze, partying his way to the end.

S.I.C. may only be fifteen minutes in length, but it contains some of Krizz Kaliko’s best work to date. The six tracks on this EP manage to rival all seventeen tracks on his last full length, Shock Treatment. On a label that lives by “more is more”, Krizz Kaliko proves that less is more. The short length of S.I.C. is only an afterthought to the quality music that puts it a cut above the rest.

-Victor Sandoval, Assistant Editor Strange Music

Follow Victor on Twitter: @VicMSandoval

Click here to purchase S.I.C. on iTunes, featuring the hits “Immortal” and “Medicine”.

S.I.C. features production from Seven, YoungFyre, and Soleternity.