Witchdoctor, …A S.W.A.T. Healin’ Ritual

Hua Hsu

By Hua Hsu

on 08.23.12 in Reviews

A S.W.A.T. Healin' Ritual

Witch Doctor

Witchdoctor’s 1997 debut remains one of the strongest examples of how far one could take that early Dungeon aesthetic. Judging by his guest spots on Aquemini and Soul Food, it was hard to discern whether he was a fierce, eyes-agog rapper or a blissed-out gospel crooner. When it came time to compose his brilliant head-trip of a debut, he split the difference. He’s an absorbing host, lazily stuttering through his verses and then singing the cloud-high hook on “Island Koneelalee.” “Lil’ Mama’s Gone” is stunning, Witchdoctor strumming an acoustic guitar and singing sweetly about love lost. S.W.A.T. clearly descends from the lineage of Outkast and Goodie Mob, but it takes that world-weary outlook in a different, distinctly God-fearing direction on tracks like “Heaven Comin’” and “Dez Only 1.” “Atlanta got a bullet with yo name on it,” he warns on “A.T.L. the Great Big Lick.” For Witchdoctor, though, redemption won’t come from fighting back.