Sick Symphonies - Sickside Stories

Straight out of the drug lab and to your eardrums, Sick Symphonies (the collaboration of The Psycho Realm and Street Platoon collective) have secretly been in the unmarked lab taking samples, mixing, burning, testing and approving their hot new doses of banging tracks to give a lethal dose to all those fiending for some hardcore hip-hop. The Psycho Realm’s last shipment and run was the ending of their war saga “A War Story: Book 2”. Street Platoon’s last shipment and run was their debut album “The Steel Storm”, which proved that the Street Platoon can bring the heat to the streets with Crow and Cynic spittin’ the fire. Sick Symphonies collective debut album “Sickside Stories” is an urban war story that mirrors the Vietnam War film classick, “Apocalypse Now Redux”. Sick Jacken, Crow, Cynic, and DJ FM are all sickside soldiers cruising the streets of Lost Angels in search for the heart of darkness.

Psycho Realm and Street Platoon are war-like veterans of the rap game. They have seen combat firsthand and been through many hot zones. Ever since The Psycho Realm’s self titled debut in 1997, they have been telling their war stories with one street anthem after another. The Psycho Realm took the concept of telling their stories and put it in two separate doses with their classic albums A War Story Book I and II. In 2005, Sick Jacken hooked up with the lyrical rhyme slangers Street Platoon who in February 2004 hit the blocks with their acclaimed debut “The Steel Storm”. In their creation and collaboration Sick Symphonies and the Drug Lab was founded. The Drug Lab proves to be both a laboratory and an armory, where Sick Symphonies mix their lyrical assault with carefully produced heat-rocks to keep delivering lethal doses of streetwise hip-hop that spread through barrio streets like napalm.

“Sickside Stories” shows that Sick Symphonies can effectively keep mixing up the product, but they can still make a hot one for all their soldados out there. The album shows that these sickside soldiers in their musical creations can integrate a variety of musical styles such as funk melodies and rhythms, rock distortion, R&B/Soul bass lines, classical phrases, and oldies sampling. But, Sick Symphonies are able to keep it down by adding their unique signature sound. You can be sure that the Drug Lab only gathers, processes, mixes and cuts the top products.

Lyrically, “Sickside Stories” shows diversity in their themes, subjects, and lyrics. While they hold true to hardcore street anthems and political protests, Sick Symphonies reflect on the deeper meanings of their lives. The most striking and touching song that uses this method is the song titled “In This Lifetime”, a song that reveals their upbringings, their triumphs, their tragedies and their new found meaning of life. Sick Jacken reminisces how “it all started on the Mexican streets and ended in these LA blocks that’s where the love was released, Me and Duke were a product of those immigrant antique ways where man on man and cowards take back seats” and the advice his father gave him: “he said money wouldn’t last me long enjoy family before they get the passing on” and finally where he grew up on the “17th block of Pico-Union a rough life but good time always keep it moving.” Cynic shows his form of destructive self expression when he raps “I never expressed my love with a hug and a kiss more like a fuck you and a diss. This life is a gift before I looked at it like it wasn’t shit cuz of the way we grew up mistreated as kids” showing that his childhood and the “tough love” he was given affected him in his adult hood.

“Sickside Stories” starts out with a collage of music, sounds, and dialogues. It starts with a blues guitar line ending with a booming echo of the line “hope you enjoy the show” followed by “if this isn’t a warning sign, what is? It then fades into The Doors haunting classic “The End” while George Bush confesses his training and his agenda for the world, the sweeping sounds of helicopters rush into the airwaves and the first song “Cointelpro”. Cointelpro sets some important themes of what this album is about, a comparison of the rap game to military warfare and the personal conflicts that await them.

“Cointelpro” is a banging beat that carries the Sick Symphonies trials. Sick Jack spits “it’s just like Vietnam, were out here in the trenches fighting a war that can’t be won. I’m a sickside soldier my word is my gun, we come with symphony drums and iron lungs”; Jacks lyrics shows their state of mind and hopelessness of fighting a war that can’t be won, but still their relentlessness in the pursuit of the struggle. Crow raps “remember my identity it’s the enemy of state for the music I make …I’m overkill on the state like razor blades on grenades, blow of your legs if your in the way of interfering, drug lab produces without sample clearing”; Crow shows the enemies that they’ve made by their being sickside soldiers and their ruthlessness in dealing with their enemies. Cynic ends the song with “they use diseases and drugs so we can decease. Mistreat the rest while were all at peace. Try to control us with paranoia but we aware…so we defy by exposing them”. Cynic shows the temptations and distractions that they have to face along with their battle of knowledge.

> “I Can’t” is a clever song that has all emcees rhyming about how they can’t explain their way of life, their way of thinking, and their way of hustling. The songs production is a full on slamming drum beat, flowing violins, and cascading piano pieces. Sick Jack starts the piece with “they say we walk as crooked as snakes. I can’t figure why they name most of us after saints”.

“Reason to Fight” is a war marching song that begins with harpsichord flourishes, that changes into a marching beat. The sounds of marching calls “left, right, left” are in the background as the distorted and sharp melody plays. Being the most political song on the album, “Reason to Fight”, is an all out lyrical attack that exposes the truth of injustice, while giving their reasons to fight.

“Sickside Stories” reveals another side of the chaos and carnage that Sick Symphonies have to face when their home-base is located in enemy territory (Occupied Mexico). The album shows that beyond the blood and bullets, the rap game has a lot of things worth fighting for. Sick Symphonies continually arm themselves to endure in struggle of the streets. Sicksiders will appreciate and continue to bang these street anthems on their own psycho city blocks. So go out and put on your sickside uniform, gas mask and gangster fedora and pickup a dosage of “Sickside Stories” and join the street revolution.

Written by The Scholar

1. The Begining
2. Cointelpro
3. #1 Target
4. Tax Evaders
5. Ghetto Sport
6. In This Lifetime
7. Times We're Living In
8. If It Happened To You
9. Fuckin Robots
10. S.S. International
11. I Can't
12. Black Hole
13. Reason to Fight
14. Streets Up

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