Review: Ransom & Big Ghost Ltd, ‘Heavy is the Head’

Two underground legends connect to deliver a cinematic experience, taking the gritty and grimy sound to new lengths.

If there’s two artists that could easily qualify for 2021 MVP so far, Jersey City rapper, Ransom, and legendary underground producer, Big Ghost Ltd, would be immediate contenders. The two have put in so much work separately throughout the year, but both only appeared on the same record once through Conway & Big Ghost’s collaboration project, If It Bleeds It Can Be Killed, on the track, “Kill All Rats.” After hearing how well the two sounded on record, a collaboration was destined to happen sooner or later.

Heavy is the Head acts as an audiovisual project, undertaking the role of a king who has clearly solidified his position and legacy in history.

The album contains 10 tracks which are rolled out in a considerate, yet satisfying timespan of 27 minutes. In a time where the music industry is ruled by underwhelming catchy music released in a constant manner, this project restores balance and gives listeners a great tradeoff of amazing lyrical content for a short amount of time. As soon as the play button is pressed, the listener is placed in a medieval setting and is taken through the glam and gore lifestyle as the king of a nation, obviously serving as a metaphor for Ransom journey of taking the crown of hip-hop.

To prove that his pen game is worthy of taking the throne, Ransom doesn’t shy away from competition with other emcees who are listed as features throughout the project. So many talented emcees tap in and deliver exceptional verses over the glamorously gritty Big Ghost beats. The roster ranges from established names such as Ill Bill & Vinnie Paz to newer talent with J. Arrr and Lou From Paradise. The notable standouts come from Rome Streetz & RJ Payne, who pop up on different tracks, but help bring a different beast out of Ransom. The two deliver jaw-dropping verses while attempting to stand their ground against the self-proclaimed king.

Heavy is the Head provides Ransom the opportunity to assert his position on the throne of hip-hop, lyrically battling a handful of the most lethal rappers in the game today. Though the features do a great job of building the competitive atmosphere, Ransom is ultimately the star, heavily barring out on every track. The need to fulfill the king’s theme leaves the Jersey city rapper hungrier than ever, making the punchlines wittier and keeping the verses tighter. That album starts and ends on a dramatic note, even cutting off the final line to depict the beheading of a king.

Big Ghost Ltd lays the base to the project with his signature sinister style combined with triumphant horns and suspenseful instrumentation to assist the cinematic feel of the album. Just like the minor mesh on Conway’s “Kill All Rats”, the two blend perfectly together and help bring out better versions of one another. The album still contains its gritty underground roots sprinkled in certain tracks, such as the baleful track, “The Red Wedding” which sets a darker tone for Ransom and RJ Payne to deliver their menacing verses. For being a fresh duo, Ransom and Big Ghost clash together magnificently, leaving listeners wanting more from the two.

Even though the two made a magnificent project with Heavy is the Head, Ransom and Big Ghost surely had enough time and space on this album for more music. The album flows perfectly from start to finish, but there’s no doubt the duo had another track or two still in them. Again, the industry is in a weird space as music is being produced and consumed much faster, but this duo is engaging enough to make a lengthy album with no roadblocks in between tracks. Nonetheless, the album displays elite lyricism, phenomenal wordplay and a spectacular production style.

Ransom and Big Ghost have both been on spectacular runs, each contributing projects that help feed into the competition of the sport and the ever-growing success of the new underground renaissance. Having two titans in the underground hip-hop scene link up and deliver an amazing body of work allows the genre of hip-hop to continue striving while staying true to the roots. Heavy is the Head is the perfect album for a listener who’s constantly looking for a lyrical fix and one who favors a cinematic experience in a project.

8 / 10

Best tracks: “All the Kings Men”, “Ransom the Destroyer”, “Tyranny”, “Blackwater”, “The Red Wedding”