While “Obelisk Movements” is often considered to be the Micranots’ (comprised of I Self Devine & Kool Akiem) debut LP, it is not by any means their first album. What you may not know about the Micranots is that these guys have been in the underground hip hop circuit for quite some time. The Micranots were holding it down in the Twin Cities well before Rhymsayers was even remotely considered “prevalent”. Micranots was originally a trio and released the EP “Hoods Pack The Jam” all the way back in 1993. The trio disbanded shortly thereafter, eventually leading to I Self and Kool Akiem’s relocation to Atlanta to continue pursuing their musical love. We often label the Micranots as an Atlanta hip hop group, when in fact they’ve emerged from the very stomping grounds that would eventually spawn Atmosphere, Eyedea, Abilities and the majority of the Rhymesayers collective. I Self was also a contributing member to the “Dynospectrum” album, a collaboration of Twin City rhymeslayers, to include Slug, Gene Poole, and Beyond (Musab).
It has taken way too long for The Micranots to get the respect they deserve. They even eventually inked a deal with Rhymesayers and have finally garnered the well-deserved shine from the underground’s masses. “Obelisk Movements” is by far their best album in my opinion and is nearly flawless from start to finish, a worthwhile purchase for any underground hip hop fan. With “Obelisk..”, I Self Divine and DJ Kool Akiem deliver complex, conscious rhymes over thick, fuzzy, heavy-snare-kick beats. It’s easy to forget that stirring music still lurks in the underground (very similar to the Juggaknots “Clear Blue Skies”), but “Obelisk Movements” is a prevalent reminder of the power of music to be not only sonically compelling, but also spiritually sound.
On “Analyze,” I Self Divine drops revisionist history lessons.” “Illegal Busyness” is a grounded, vicious assault on inner-city drug economies, while “Queen Supreme” pays respect to the strength of black women, as well as the well-deserved to their Mothers (“Mother’s Day”). With the powerful combination of knowledge of self and boom bap, the Micranots will remind of you lyrically-inclined crews, namely Blackalicious and Freestyle Fellowship.
Rhymesayers has since re-issued Micranots’ first full-length, “Return of the Travellahs”, yet “Obelisk Movements” stands as their greatest artistic achievement. The compelling use of ill samples on tracks such as “Culture” make for a unique hip hop experience. While cuts like “Pitch Black Arc” demonstrate excellent production skills from Kool Akiem. All in all, a solid album from a highly underrated duo.