The Band of the Hawk, the mercenary company known as DEF on the battlefield, are a spacious affair: all looped menace and blunted minutiae, not unlike early RZA productions if Mr. Diggs had been raised in Houston’s Fifth Ward worshipping 90’s hood flicks more than kung fu cinema and stuck in a Mario Brothers maze.
These early efforts have since been re-absorbed, shoving way towards the Hawks’ penchants for texture over bombast, interpretation over definition. The current line-up of the Hawks: Noah Archangel, King aka Yeaux Majesty, Ash Ra aka Houey Freeman fka Ashtonomics, P.Ey3, Grynd Seazon, and Juskwam – succeeds in meeting the audience’s current expectation from a hip-hop group. Each personality is equally present and distinguishable from track to track, regardless of preferred artistic attack. Whether Noah raps or produces, or King spits coolness on the mic first or last, listeners know the unmistakable stew that is the Band of the Hawk.