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Released February 2005

Oldominion was a hip-hop collective that rose to prominence in the Northwest right around Y2K. Comprised of more than twenty members, the group’s debut album One was released in 2000 to critical acclaim. A few years after One, a side project emerged from Oldominion titled Grayskul that included three members: Onry Ozzborn, JFK, and Rob Castro. Grayskul would go on to record at least ten albums together, but their greatest work remains Deadlivers, released in 2005. Deadlivers is a masterwork of rap theater in the same vein as a Prince Paul hip hop opera. Grayskul paints elaborate pictures in your mind using archetypal good vs. evil battles to illuminate their concepts and bring them to life. “This is the birth of miracle, magic and majesty,” raps Ozzborn on “Behold,” transforming a cute little line from Paul Simon’s Graceland into a vaguely ominous warning. “Vixen” and “After Hours” bring an accessible, fun balance to the album’s generally more dark themes. “Adversarial Theater Of Justice,” and “Action Figure Of Speech,” both appear near the beginning of the LP, and display the nimble poetry and twisted imagery conjured by Grayskul on this project. Deadlivers is a hauntingly beautiful fugue, and by daring to stray from tired rap stereotypes, The album achieves true greatness. A 206 classic! (This review was submitted by reader Novocaine132.)