Esham – Closed Casket (1994)

Closed Casket is surely the definitive Esham record – I love absolutely everything about it; the sound, the lyrics, the samples, even the artwork (for some reason). Closed Casket captures a slice of Detroit “suicidalist” lifestyle in the smog of the early 90s, during that perfect period when Esham was still dank as fuck but not dropping references to the man down below every 20 seconds.

I tend to categorise Esham into two categories – a.) when he goes hard, and b.) when he goes silly. Closed Casket falls entirely into the first camp, and is nowhere near as wet as records such as Mail Dominance or that Gothom City nonsense. All the beats are bangers, the bass is spot on, rumbling nicely along for a fat backbone. The production is lightyears ahead of the previous record, KKKill The Fetus, but still retains that grime and almost, how can I put it, copy-of-a-copy-of-a-copy-of-a-copied-cassette sound.

This kinda gets lumped in with the horrorcore thing as Esham is associated with ICP and all that lot, but any fan of old school hip hop would do themselves a service by checking this out.

Stand-out tracks: “The Wicketshit Will Never Die”, “My Homie Got Shot”, “Can’t Take It Wit Cha”, “Chatty Ass Nigga”, “Flatline”, “2 Dollahoe”, “I’ll Be Glad When You Dead”.