Whatever else is said about Rusko, he is undoubtedly one of the most influential producers in the recent history of dubstep. For better or worse, he and fellow noise-merchant Caspa are largely responsible for the direction that dubstep took in the past five years. Since moving to the US in 2009 his musical output has largely been irrelevant to anyone outside Skrillex/Flux Pavilion circle of teens who have been filling huge stadiums there of late. Sadly, Rusko doesn’t seem to gotten the hint, laying into these same fans in a BBC Radio 1 interview late last year, “They’re like ‘Rusko, I want you to melt my face off tonight! Play the hardest you’ve got!’ And I’m like, it’s not about playing the hardest, hardest tracks for an hour and a half”.
With all that taken into account, this EP with Cypress Hill doesn’t raise too many eyebrows. One would hope that the superior skills of the hip-hoppers would elevate the release to something better than its peers and at times the rhymes are infectious and do add velocity to the tracks, such as ‘Medicated’. But by and large there’s no getting away from the all-too-cliched wobbles and psuedo-metal riffs which, in 2012, pack very little punch.
All too often the music becomes a caricature of itself. ‘Can’t Keep Me Down’ features a bland Damien Marley vocal over an embarrassing attempt to acknowledge the dubwise sound that early dubstep artists like RSD and Mala incorporated so well. ‘Roll It, Light It’ contains little imagination and contains more nearly every cliched dubstep production technique in the book. ‘We came here to get you high’ we’re told, yet I’m left only mildly irritated.
Mockingly predictable and ludicrously over the top kick-snare patterns move under mid-range chainsaw synths, leaving little room in the mix for brosteps infamous ‘bass-drops’ to do any really low frequency damage. Not being American (or 16), it’s hard to imagine the context in which this music is taken in the US that hip-hop legends like Cypress Hill take this sound so seriously. The cynic in me wonders if it’s a desire to maintain relevance to a new generation or just wanting to get paid. The fan in me hopes it’s just a phase.