Maddog Mcgraw’s newest full-length release, “Green Beret,” does everything a hip-hop album should. Full of dissonant, Method Man “Tical” like beats, and packed with slicing rhymes and a dose of humor, “Green Beret” is as organic as it is brutally honest. Recorded at REO Town Recording with Zack Tuck and produced by Darnell Green of D Green Studios in Detroit, Maddog Mcgraw works to prove himself as a throwback master of ceremonies.
Panning from left to right with his signature doghouse grunt, Maddog growls the title of the first song on his newest album: “Rebels Don’t Die,” unleashing an onslaught of running bass lines and boom bap drum loops. Chronicling his relationship with Death, a grimy underworld hitman that Maddog confronts every chance he gets, he raps “one thing I know: it won’t be easy killing me ‘cos rebels don’t die easy,” and neither do Maddog’s rhymes.
Settling into the album, the second track and first single, “I Hate Your Guts,” is a lyrical exercise in intimidation. Maddog plays with the intersection of humor and terror when he raps lines like “from the bottom of my heart I wish you the worst/If you died tomorrow I’m car-jacking your hearse.” “I Hate Your Guts” pulls you in with haunting theremin lines and heavy boom bap drums.
“Dog Days” takes a departure from Maddog’s creeped-out beat theme and substitutes a feel-good horn line for his delay-driven drums. Lyrically, “Dog Days” breaks the album’s violent cycle and comments on the dismal state of current hip-hop. Maddog attests that “rap is a travesty, but hip-hop lives,” separating himself from mainstream, Auto-tuned rappers.
The album’s title track, “Green Beret,” hosts an ominous funk beat while Maddog raps that new hip-hop artists “don’t respect that path that was paved” and offers himself up to save the day, name dropping groups like Cypress Hill and the Last Poets to back up his hip-hop credentials.
On the fifth track and second single, “Feed Me,” Maddog best sums up the song when he says, “we about to get explicit,” following it up with the line, “sure, it’s nasty, but that’s why God made bleach.” In a format similar to his encyclopedia of threats in “I Hate Your Guts,” Maddog boasts of his super-human sexual prowess.
The album finishes up with “High Noon,” a final call to action wherein Maddog reasserts his commitment to throwback hip-hop, his lyrical dexterity and his unflinching persona.
Overall, “Green Beret” does everything a hip-hop album should do, but it also does what a lot of hip-hop usually does. Maddog asserts that he’s a party God in “Back of the Bar,” that he can kick your ass in “I Hate Your Guts,” that he’s the genuine master of ceremonies from the old school in “Green Beret” and that he’s a loyal lover in “H.H.F. (Homie Fuck Friend).”
While the songs on “Green Beret” might follow a traditional hip-hop format, the real attraction are Maddog Mcgraw’s quick, brutally honest and sometimes humorous lyrics. “Green Beret’s” relentlessly heavy beats tie Maddog’s eclectic lyrics into a cohesive album worth listening to.