Codefendants - This Is Crime Wave (Cover Artwork)


This Is Crime Wave (2023)


Codefendants are a new three headed monster of a group debuting with their album, This Is Crime Wave. ‘Crime Wave’ was dubbed to be the chosen genre of the group, but was later also disclosed as being ‘genre-fluid’. However, we all know that if Fat Mike is involved, it has to have roots in punk rock.

Along with Fat Mike, Codefendants consist of singer Sam King (Get Dead) and Ceschi Ramos. This group combines punk attitude with the styles of hip-hop and reggae but uses dark, vulnerable lyrics that cultivate the theme of struggling.

I would say this project could be the merge of the Transplants with Days N’ Daze…making dark hip-hop about survival. The melodic phrases and subject matter of these tunes are unsettling, along with a slow pace that seems to always build tension. A lot of the verses on this release sound like they could be suicide notes…or at least that’s the vibe I’m left with. Luckily most of the time a chorus comes in to relieve some stress and almost provide a little hope by confirming you’re not alone if you’re living through this pain as well.

This Is Crime Wave opens with Def Cons, a modest, verbed out reggae guitar rhythm that expands into a tense bass groove concluding with a somewhat uplifting hip hop hook that states: ‘never let them break you.’ The added harmonies with the quickly paced vocal deliveries opened me up to the fact that these tunes were going to sound outside the box. The next tune, Abscessed, features the rest of the Get Dead crew along with Onry Ozzborn and delivers a more prominent punk/hip-hop hybrid sound.

With Fast Ones, we are definitely confirmed to have the first three tracks live in different worlds with their genres, yet they are all connected by building introductions and fluctuating vocal styles. Fast Ones features The DOC and showcases a more straight up hip-hop sound. Next, Suicide by Pigs gives yet another new element with a tune that builds from a single acoustic guitar sound into an epic, arm-in-arm ending to the degree of ‘the band played on’. To complete the first half of the LP, Disaster Scenes features Stacey Dee (Bad Cop/Bad Cop) and is just a brutally vulnerable tune that brings back the hip-hop aesthetic.

The second half of the LP doesn’t have any features listed so we really get to the core of the Codefendants’ sound, which is largely coming from all of the things that Sam King and Ceschi Ramos have to say. The different instrumentations and melodic components paired with the variety of lyric content, delivery, and back up vocal support create the essence of the Codefendants from this point on (if it hasn’t already).

Overall, I feel that this LP is deep, it’s groovy…but it’s heavy. It’s not a straightforward punk or hip-hop record, it’s multilayered and artistic so it requires patience and withholding of judgment until properly digested. There are elements that are going to hit some folks harder than others, conversely, there’s likely things that will fly over your head unless you’re antiquated with a similar background. This record is not for the masses, it’s not mainstream, and it’s not mediocre. It will likely be a “love it or hate it” with most folks, but it’s certainly worthy of creative and artistic praise. The best place to listen to these tunes is probably driving or riding around your neighborhood…you’ll likely have a different perspective on where you’re at.