"If Mary was only 14 when she had Jesus, what does that make God?" Otep Shamaya frostily posits at the beginning of her anti-Christianity tirade, "Cross Contamination", from her eighth album, "Kult 45".
It's no secret Shamaya never shies from a fight, enflamed particularly within the bushfire of her confrontational art. She comes into "Kult 45" carrying inside of her ammo holder proverbial souvenir bullet casings from RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE's rap-rock insurrection of the 1990s and early 2000s. Given that a resurgence of interest in RAGE has culminated from both dormant and neophyte rebels balking the current administration, it's no surprise one of the group's contemporaries picks up its torch. For good measure, Otep drops a cover of the latter's "Wake Up" at the end of the album to drill her point straight through the crosshairs.
"Kult 45" is raw in both connotations with no punches pulled against the White House, racists, homophobes, uber-zealots, the NRA and all who walk the conservative line. It's the same litany of recalcitrance Otep Shamaya has always dropped, only this time you're going to hear her profane street prose shoved with more clarity.
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE figures greatly on "Halt Right", "Molotov", "To The Gallows", "Said The Snake" and "Shelter In Place". "When was America great?" Otep taunts within "Halt Right"'s pogo-pouncing fight rally, one of the most addictive, power-packed jams Otep's ever barked to. If Zach de la Rocha's listening, he'd no doubt be flattered.
If there's one thing "Kult 45" will likely be remembered best for, it's all the quotable nuggets to pull from it. "I'm preaching on this one," Otep begins with her crunchy condemnation of racism on "Molotov". "Let me kiss it, I can fix it," she snarls amidst the pummeling stomp and a thrash twister erupting on the lethal "Said the Snake". "This is what democracy looks like," Otep taunts with the explicit invitation to her targets to throw down on "Undefeated". Rapists beware of her cold steel issuance, "You hear that click, you son a bitch?" on "Trigger Warning".
While "Undefeated" and "Boss" are dropped in straight rap fashion with bare signals of the band's instrumentation, Otep's demolition squad—Ari "Aristotle" Mihapolous on guitar, Andrew "Drewski Barnes on bass and Justin Keir on drums—drops some of the most riotous grooves she's ever scatted and ralphed to. Appropriately, this joint has bounce on top of spit-slung venom to absorb.
Right from the lady's mouth, she's not a boss bitch: she's a boss, bitch.