excerpt from The Post and Courier
“Crucible” extends a thrilling winning streak for Fat Rat in his first few years of middle age. But more than that, it feels like a summation and punctuation on much of what those releases have been trying to say.
It works as a sequel to 2018’s “ETHX,” answering that record’s fervent and often confrontational proclamations of personal and musical values with songs that own the elusive middle ground between regret and resolve. Looping in the rapper’s other short album from the past three years, 2019’s romantically inclined “Exposed,” it closes the triptych by showing how his moments of uncompromising valor and tender thoughtfulness can coexist, and even reinforce each other.
The pacing and the rhythmic structures never push far beyond steadying boom-bap, but the sheeny, occasionally ominous synth accents and samples give the beats a decidedly modern feel. These patient and melancholy moods suit Fat Rat’s burly flow, allowing him to maximize his commanding presence while still flexing his dexterity on the mic.