Review: Rob Sonic, “Sabotage Gigante”

Rob Sonic
Sabotage Gigante
Definitive Jux

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Rob Sonic may be one of the least recognized artists on the mammoth Definitive Jux roster, but lyrically, this Bronx rep can stand right up to a majority of his labelmates. After leading Sonic Sum and releasing the criminally slept-on LP, The Sanity Annex, in 2000, Rob re-emerged in 2004 with his solo debut, Telicatessen. Now he follows up with Sabotage Gigante — a grimy, subterranean set doused with angst-filled verses and simple yet extra-heavy production.

Unlike the mostly temperate musings Rob exhibited on Sonic Sum’s material, here the rhymer turns up the intensity. With no shortage of dense verbal onslaughts, Rob’s raps are of the type that begs to be revisited for further study. On the politically-tinged “Mother Of All Bombs,” he observes, “Ill how we still keep the country sick/How the future became nothing but a drug we kick.” If anything, clever couplets may be Rob’s specialty. Just be ready to listen closely or you may miss his microphone mastery.

When Rob went solo he also took it upon himself to produce all of his music instead of relying on the atmospheric grooves of his old crewmate Fred Ones. With this album, he takes a minimalist approach, often grouping dirty synth sounds with hard drum patterns. In this regard, he offers little variance. Thus sonically, there aren’t many specific standouts on Sabotage Gigante.

While Rob’s work behind the boards isn’t as imposing as his wild style wordplay, the overcast output works well enough. And all in all, the backdrops actually help make this effort ideal for today’s restless youth.

— Max Herman

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