For their first full-length album as The Ritz, Chicago’s indie hip-hop stalwarts Apoc and Rel wanted to showcase their ability to explore a diverse array of styles while still creating a cohesive and affecting hip-hop record. They have accomplished this with their ultra-unique debut, The Night of Day.
Leading up to the creation of The Night of Day, producer (and occasional rapper) Rel honed his skills behind the boards by producing tracks for local hip-hop Chicago acts such as Elfamail and Moodswangz of Giraffe Nuts, and engineering recording sessions for hip-hop icons like Raekwon, Killah Priest and Pace Won.
Meanwhile, Apoc had been steadily establishing himself in the Chicago and San Diego hip-hop scenes via his three previously released albums and a strong history on the road motivated by an intensely nomadic nature that kept him moving whenever he wasn’t in the studio. In the process, Apoc was able to share the stage with hip-hop luminaries such as Slick Rick, Pharoahe Monch, and Mix Master Mike as well as indie hip-hop heavyweights like Eyedea& Abilities, Lyrics Born and Living Legends. Apoc’s live shows became renowned for his wide array of rhyme techniques, humorous stage antics and eccentricities.
Finding inspiration in the themes and aesthetics of the gritty noir films of the 1940’s and 50’s, Apoc and Rel fulfill the promise that was heard in their past collaborations on projects like Apoc’s 2005 release Gods & Ghosts and their contribution to the 2004 compilation The Zooey Files. In The Night of Day, Apoc uses the language of noir and relies on the genre’s motifs of scorned lovers, disenchanted heroes, mysterious pasts and a corrupt and violent world, to spit cinematic tales describing the underbelly of modern American society.
Utilizing his vast catalog of styles, Apoc’s nihilistic stories are told with fervor, from the sing songy raps of “Heartless” or “Waiting” to the rapid fire delivery of the title track. He even gives some impressive nods to his native Chicago exhibiting his aptitude for spitting the city’s signature double-time sound on “The Getaway” and “Blown.”
To compliment Apoc’s striking style, Rel uses a palette that includes classic soul chops, staccato synths, and haunting strings. Rel’s tracks bounce from dark and evocative to soulful and melodic, with snippets from some of the film noir movies that influenced the creation of the album. Also contributing on The Night of Day are fellow Chicagoans Racecar of Modill, and Rhymesayers recording artist Psalm One, as well as cuts performed by battle veteran DJ Onceamonth.
The Night of Day’s genius is in the accomplishment of that cohesive and affecting whole that Apoc and Rel initially sought. The wide variety of sounds, styles and influences that permeate the record allow for the hip-hop fan to be challenged and the novice to have a spot to get on board.
The Night of Day Tracklisting:
Stream The Album HERE
Release Date: August 19th, 2008
01. Gotta Be
02. It’s The... (MP3)
03. The Night of Day
04. The Getaway
05. She Lived By Night
07. Langston Bukowski (f/ Racecar of Modill)
08. Step (f/ Brendan B)
10. The Point of No Return
11. Blown (f/ Psalm One)
12. Good Times, Girls
13. Too Late For Tears
14. Waiting For The Sun To Set
15. I Said That (f/ Moodswangz and Elfamail)
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