It’s a Monster comes from a crew of angry Paheka, Maori and Pacific Island hip-hop artists joined under the Auckland independent label Breakin Wreckwordz.
The influence of West Coast gangsta rap is fairly obvious on most of the Breakin Wreckwordz artists, but refreshingly – unlike many of their fellow Auckland hip-hop artists and labels – there isn’t that whole painful ‘New Zealand/Pacific represent’ vibe.
The Breakin Wreckwordz crew is made up of about 12 artists who spread themselves over the album, coming in under different combinations in semi-varied styles. The majority is pretty dark – a mix of negative, brutally antagonistic social commentary with label and personal boasts aplenty.
The beats and production are not the most complex but do work to highlight (most) of the MCs’ lyrical abilities. Opening track ‘There goes the Sirens’ by R.E.S, featuring Fact and Cyphanetik sets the tone of the album; it comes in loud and heavy with the self-assured aggressive vocals turned up high, simple siren sample, clean scratches and powerful head nodding beats.
It’s a Monster sees the tracks flip from being positive and self assured to sinister and nihilistic, such as Cancer’s ‘Bitterest Pill’ and ‘Drip’– which delve into the dark and disturbed minds of two life hating, suicide contemplating nihilists which in all honestly is perhaps disturbingly revitalizing. Likewise, the 8th track ‘Dysfunctional Family’ has Tyson Tyler, Tek and Cyphanetik voice the depressing, poverty ridden lives of a father, mother and son. It’s dismal and raw, reflecting domestic abuse, welfare dependency, addiction and suicide. The pendulum most notably swings from the grimy cocky swagger of R.E.S – who on the third track – ‘Good Times Roll’ detail the problems that comes with “a pocket full of dough and a nasal full of snow” – the three MC’s detail a day of crime and excesses in their endearing sleazy swagger all over a lazy blues motif, to the Christian, positive affirmation duo the Usual Suspects, who keep things on the upbeat encouraging dancing over smoking and violence.
Half way through the album is the title track ‘It’s a Monster’ which features the majority of the labels MC’s, which, though it should be the center piece is quite unforgettable, perhaps because it sits between two of the albums best tracks. By track 12 things are on the repetitive side- nothing particularly new comes to the table- just more depressing looks at life in poverty, tracks inspired by negative media headlines (‘Unheard’) twisted love songs, more upping of the label and some more suicide wishes.