Insight, The Blast Radius (2004)
“I use speech to bust rhymes through a concrete wall,” raps Boston MC/producer Insight on “Evolve,” the first single from The Blast Radius. Insight’s music is meant to hit like shrapnel, dousing the ears in horn stabs, rumbling bass, and careening effects. It bears a remarkable similarity to DJ Premier’s Works of Mart, but Premier rarely programs his tracks at such high decibels, tweaking the trebles until they become a fizzy, carbonated mess. As a vocalist, he divides his tracks into solemn, if enthusiastic, lessons on the art of MC’ing, hip-hop culture, and sundry textbook lessons. For example, there’s “Time Frame,” where he blends an impromptu history of electronics, complete with shout-outs to Thomas Edison, and a random sampling of highlights in twentieth-century black music. Then there’s “Inventors,” on which he drops a young man into a bad dream, a world without inventions created by black scientists: “He took another step and noticed many things different/Like the filament inside of a lightbulb was missing.” Brick Records, with distribution by Traffic Entertainment Group.