Matlock | Moonshine

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by Matlock

Highly anticipated album from Chicago’s Matlock, featuring RA the Rugged Man, battle legend J.U.I.C.E., Pacewon, and Rusty Chains, as well as production by DJ Babu (Beat Junkies/Dilated Peoples), Overflo(Diverse, PsalmOne, Illogic), Kaz1, and White Shadow
Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap: Hip Hop
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Intro
0:59 $0.99
2. Liven Em Up
3:12 $0.99
3. Pignose (feat. RA the Rugged Man)
4:01 $0.99
4. Bury My Body
3:00 $0.99
5. Don't Sleep
4:39 $0.99
6. Interlude
0:43 album only
7. Moonshine
4:11 $0.99
8. Love N Hate
2:25 $0.99
9. Dear Abbey
4:37 $0.99
10. Get Lit (feat. Rusty Chains)
2:52 $0.99
11. This Music (feat. DJ Babu)
4:19 $0.99
12. Interlude
0:30 album only
13. Cursed
4:13 $0.99
14. Live @ E.V.
2:48 $0.99
15. Quatro Muchachos (feat. Pacewon, Rusty Chains & Juice)
4:20 $0.99
16. I'm a Thief
2:57 $0.99
17. Music Box
4:10 $0.99
18. Northside Diehard
4:28 $0.99
19. Outro
1:25 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
After years of anticipation, Chicago’s Matlock will be releasing “Moonshine” this Fall. The full length features RA the Rugged Man, battle legend J.U.I.C.E., Pacewon, and Rusty Chains, as well as production by DJ Babu (Beat Junkies/Dilated Peoples), Kaz1, Overflo, and White Shadow.

Also known as Morty Goldstein, (a moniker given to him by his uncle, also a blues guitarist), Matlock made a name for himself performing at showcases, open mics, ciphers, and battles all over Chicago before releasing Crazy Artist Type in 1999. Matlock continued recording, releasing and self-promoting his home-grown brand of basement hip-hop with “Paradise Lost” in 2001, touching on a wide aray of subjects from battle-rap to bootleggers, getting stoned to the self-realization of one's own mortality. In 2003 he signed with Gravel Records, home of fellow Family Jewels members Rusty Chains and producer Kaz1.

"I spit it for the kid's sake, the sober and the sh*t-faced/ the dirt-poor, my sick crew, the city and some inmates", Morty declares on the track "Moonshine" from his forthcoming L.P. by the same name, which he promises willl be more interesting musically than anything he has ever done previously. "I want to focus more on song-writing this time around", says Matlock, "These so-called artists think they're creative with a few mediocre verses, a catchy hook, and a bullsh*t beat, but is it a song? Does it evoke a feeling in you? These guys are prisoners to their own gimmicks. Hardcore rappers can't be sensitive, intellectual rappers can't be angry, battle rappers can't do anything with meaning because they're too busy showing off their ‘skills’ and not focusing on the recording as a whole.”

Raised on classic rock and citing such diverse artists as Johnny Cash, KRS One, Lord Finesse, Redman, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nas, and The Rolling Stones as inspirations for his music, it’s no wonder that his music encompasses a wide range of style and emotion. “There's no reason hip-hop can't be melodic. I want to get my listeners hype enough to punch their best friend in the mouth on the hard tracks, and reflective enough to burst into tears on the sad songs”, explains Matlock, “I feel I represent the common man's state of mind, which can be happy, sad, goofy, political, spiritual, and filled with rage all at once. I try not to force my writing. I write because I have something to say, not because I have to say something".



to write a review gives Moonshine 4 afro’s and a great review...
Whether it's "Round Midnight," "Moonlight Sonata" or a marauder after dark, sundown allows creativity to thrive and Matlock's album is no exception. Moonshine is a mood piece oozing ill street blues, live lyrics and mayhem.

A battle bred rapper seeking redemption through music, the familiar theme is kept relevant by Matlock's devotion to the art of song writing. Plus he can spit; the impatient rhymes that rush against or slightly ahead of the beat ensure an exhilarating listening experience.

"I'm too ill to get well, blitzed off of cheap scotch, too raw for television, too dope to detox, spit venom til the beat stops, the walking weed spot" Moonshine is littered with tales of skulduggery, vices and vendettas. "Pignose" is a stellar example of Matlock (joined by filth merchant Ra the Rugged Man) revelling in muck, over a sick bassline.

Despite an obvious GSOH (see "Dear Abbey") Moonshine is a moody album and it is the darkness that pervades and entices. The doomed drug tales of "Music Box" directly oppose the hedonism of "Get Lit". It's no fun but allows Matlock to flex poetic, "I hear cops, moonlight reflects off the beer tops, neighborhood whores shed mascara teardrops, drugdealers get rich, bums swig Smirnoff."

There is a sadness underpinning the songs or in the case of "Cursed" body slamming the track. With fading heroes and struggling peers the underground can seem inherently mournful, Matlock acknowledges this but resists, and the frenetic b-boyism of "Liven 'Em Up" and the buoyant "Bury My Body" keep drudgery at bay.

"Don't Sleep" nods at Illmatic and also attempts to banish that black cloud aided by head nod beats. Kaz 1 handles most of the production (besides Babu's bluesy "This Music"), and his self professed medieval beats add to the nocturnal mood. With jazzy interludes to make Diamond D blush, the contemporary boom bap raises the bar on this quality set .

Is the outro, Henley's defiant poem "Invictus" (Timothy McVeigh's last words) a morbid gesture or dark optimism? Either way Matlock's efforts have transformed him from being, "another fuck releasing hate" to creating, "A masterpiece they won't appreciate." Wake up.

- Sonia N.
Read more... review of MATLOCK'S Moonshine
Matlock :: Moonshine :: Gravel Records

as reviewed by Jesal 'Jay Soul' Padania

Seeing as Chi-Town is growing in profile, seemingly by the minute, it seems only fitting to check out the new offering from one of Chicago's own, Matlock. It is even slated for release the very same day as Kanye West's third offering, 'Graduation' – and it is not even any kind of joke to suggest that this MC would genuinely do any Kanyezee LP credit with a guest appearance. He is a quite outstanding lyricist, potentially of the highest order. Sounds like a mildly psychotic claim – I know what you're thinking. BUT remember hearing 'Touch the Sky' for the first time, and wondering who Lupe Fiasco was? So give 'Moonshine' a chance.

The intro is one of the lushest I've ever heard – and as soon as Matlock starts rapping over opening track 'Liven Them Up', you know you're in for something special. It is wonderful to hear a modern MC craft their lyrics with such care, whilst paying attention to flow, cadence and breath control. One can certainly hear echoes of Eminem circa the 'Marshall Mathers' era in tracks such as 'Bury My Body' – NOT because he is a white MC either! It is more to with the cleverness of the wordplay, the venom with which he spits and ability to arrest the listener. Then, Matlock follows it up immediately with a track like 'Don't Sleep' – the kind of song that even Slim Shady couldn't pull off. He's got swagger to burn, an excellent voice and even solid choruses. Time and time again throughout the album, including the title track, you'll find jewels dropped indiscriminately: "I spit it for the kid's sake, the sober and the shit-faced/The dirt-poor, my sick crew, the city and some inmates". He must possess the breath control of a deep-sea diver on this track – imagine him spitting couplets like that in quick succession for 8 or 12 bars without pause. What is surprising is that for such a high percentage of time, his complex and intricate shit STILL makes perfect sense... That is a hard skill to pull off.

It's all love for the MC – unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the production side of the album. Kaz1 handles eleven of the albums fifteen songs – it is always a risk to hand over so much control to one producer, be it Kanye's fumbling of Common's 'Finding Forever', or less well-known dudes like Kaz1. It can pay off, and in theory make perfect sense, helping the continuity of the LP – but 'Moonshine' is hit and miss musically. Positives include the aforementioned title track and 'Don't Sleep', even the posse cut 'Quatro Muchachos' but the ball is dropped more often than not – especially when compared to the jazzy 'This Music', laced by scratch genius DJ Babu (you can hear the difference almost immediately), or the strange hypnotic melody of 'Live at E.V.' with DJ Grimmace behind the boards.

It is a crying shame, as an authentic and charismatic MC such as Matlock honestly deserves a bigger stage and monster beats to ride over. With the right soundscape and promotion behind him, he could prove a big success. He needs beats – not even to inspire him, he needs no help on that count. No, simply to inspire the listener. While I just about enjoy listening to the album to hear what Matlock is going to say next, the music gets in the way. I take my hat/cap off to this incredible rap artist, but screw it – forward this review to Kanye and see if he's got a few beats spare next time.

Music Vibes: 5.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 9.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7.5 of 10

Originally posted: September 11, 2007