Back in March Canadian rapper SJ the Wordburglar released a sneak preview EP that became an integral part of my own summer soundtrack. At long last the full version of this project, Welcome to Cobra Island, is finally available.
Twelve tracks strong, Cobra Island is an intense lyrical adventure that’s part tribute, part high-concept fan fiction and all quality hip-hop. An album rooted in G.I. Joe canon — particularly that of the Larry Hama-penned Marvel Comics series — it does a fine job of explaining the property to newbies, but is an even more pleasing listening experience for returning fans.
Welcome to Cobra Island instantly grabs the listener with its aggressive title track, and the ride only gets wilder from there. Highlights include musical meditations on Cobra’s resident arms dealer (“Call Destro”), its diabolical quick-change artist Zartan (“That Guy with the Disguises”) and an exhaustive study of the life of Cobra Commander himself (“Venomous Ideology”). But Burg also strays to the more esoteric, including the supernatural “I Don’t Wanna Go to Cobra-La” and a remix of 3rdburglar‘s excellently creepy “Fred Broca.” Add to this the recurring motif of three-part narrative “A Letter from Snake Eyes” and a closer that lingers over what is likely the most pivotal moment in recent Joe history, and you’ve got an album that shouldn’t be missed.
Welcome to Cobra Island is available as a physical release for $13 CAD, or digitally as a pay-what-you-want download. Boasting all the lyrical dexterity you’d expect from the one and only Rap-Viper backed up by expertly implemented samples from the cartoon series we all know and love (gorgeously arranged by a team of stellar producers including Timbuktu, Fresh Kils and Beatmason), it’s definitely a dangerous getaway you’ll never forget.