Song of the Day

Ill Communication, “A Lecture in Survivability,” from Rhythms and Rhymes for the End Times (Safe Inside Records, 2022)

Photo: Ron Yamasaki

The carefully curated cadre of artists that compose San Diego’s Safe Inside Records is no mistake. If you want a golden stable, only pick the prize winners. Hence, their latest signing is the Oxnard/Tehachapi crack team known as Ill Communication. I haven’t the time or room to extol the virtues of the various members’ bonafides and I try to sidestep the ol’ “supergroup” tag, but let’s just say it’s apt. 

To christen their new veritable dream home, we’ve gotten our first taste in the form of two-song single, Rhythms and Rhymes for the End Times. Ostensibly a sonic aperitif to whet the appetite, the twin killers herein should have fans frothing well before the LP’s main course arrives.  

Giving some shine to the underdog, the focus of today’s Song of the Day is the B-side banger, “A Lecture in Survivability.”

In what feels like we’re being dropped immediately into the action, the action spares not a second. The guitar is of the violently churning variety, calling to mind the much missed St. Louis titans Time and Pressure.

It’s a tightly wound and impeccably mixed sound that plays well between early ‘oughts melodic hardcore and something a bit more seething a la Count Me Out. At hardly a minute and a half, they do more in ninety seconds than most do in thrice the time. 

Whether or not it's their moniker that calls back a certain NYC trio, their lyrics have long pulled from a hard won well of “lifer” insight that knows its way around classic hip-hop. Be it the “hard knock life” reference or the fact that these mischievous souls even manage a nod to the Oakland hip-hop classic, “‘93 til Infinity," they litter their lyrical nods with traditional couplets.

It’s equally fitting then that the line “…there’s wisdom in these bars” tips its hat both to the wildly drawn out syllabic abuse peddled by YoT’s Cappo and the 4 beats/16 bars of rap’s rich history. The track also boasts guest spots by the talented Matt Tyler (Tuning, Discourage) and Eric Pocock (Discourage), which give the already boisterous gang vocals a pile on vibe. 

Pardon the impending flood of poorly made puns, but Ill Communication has finally put their root down. Don’t sabotage yourself or you’ll have a heart attack, man. It’s a sure shot. 

Tagged: ill communication