Cyrus Malachi is one of the few rappers that truly has his own style, a ferocious delivery coupled with an incredible vocabulary helped push his debut “Ancient Future” towards the upper echelon of UK Hip Hop. Whilst highly adept at traditional street rap, it was when Cyrus united powerful stories and poignant observations with his metaphorical style that made the record stay in the CD player. Whilst “Ancient Future” ultimately missed out on classic-status, being let down by some monotonous production and an inconsistent flow (the strongest records were all at the end of the album), it had plenty to say.
Compared to his first solo effort, Cyrus Malachi has improved his technique whilst maintaining everything that made “Ancient Future” as interesting as it was. “Black Athena” leans towards sounding like a British Killah Priest record more than “Ancient Future”, which is both good and bad depending on your taste in rappers. Content-wise, I can’t knock the darker themes running throughout tracks such as “Lions Den 2” and “Papercuts”, and whilst the collaborations and metaphorical displays of “talking big” are expected on most hip hop albums, Cyrus proves he is still a supreme storyteller. It’s a shame there isn’t quite the standout “Kemetic Love” moment here that stood out on “Ancient Future” but when there are more frequent examples of just why Cyrus Malachi is so highly rated, it all makes sense. “Black Athena” is better than “Ancient Future”, featuring superior production that benefits the record overall by being truly cohesive. A bold statement I’m sure, but if you combined Cyrus’ two solo records together, you would have at least one album’s worth of classic hip hop, British or otherwise.