Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Representing Providence On Wax

This is a pretty nice compilation album that's just dropping now from a new label, Pro-Town Records. It's limited to 300 copies, but unlike most limited vinyl releases today, it's not priced to gouge the collector, it's actually priced below the norm: $10 for a full-length LP (11 songs + an intro). It's by a crew from Providence (Pro-Town, see?) Rhode Island that've been down for a good while, but up 'till now haven't put much music out. The full line-up consists of: Romen Rok, DJ Al Bums, Cevtwo, J Strest, Info Mite, Swerve One, Roe Diggs, Minister Ref, Jahpan and Chachi Carvalho. Some of them have put in some guest verses over the years - you may remember Romen Rok from Joe Beats' solo album for instance - but probably made the most noise with their album as Funkbunker Fleet (Slap & Spit) in 2003.

This album is a compilation of material recorded from 1999-today. And what's fun is that you can't tell what's from the 90's and what's recent when listening to it. It's totally consistent and timeless. The production (primarily handled by Al Bums) is on one-hand pretty varied - they use a wide variety of samples, some upbeat and soulful, others loop soulful crooning - but on the other hand, it's all pulled into a unified style of straight boom-bap hip-hop.

Lyrically, it's pretty consistent, too. Some songs are posse cuts, others are solo songs. But regardless, they're pretty much all non-stop battle rhymes in the vein of clever wordplay that only briefly pauses for some scratched-in hooks. You can distinguish who's rapping by their voices alright (Info Might has a gruffer voice, Al Bum's voice is deeper, etc), but writing-wise they seem to speak with one voice. "Love Is Blue," a more contemplative tune, is pretty much the only song that isn't about dissing "you," dropping punchlines ("I'll never get washed up - just like my dirty dishes") and flexing skills ("I stay busy as a bee stuck in a bucket of molasses"). But let's face it, we don't generally like our MCs to stray too far from the formula, do we? And they don't.

So I encourage you to check it out. It won't replace your favorite record by the masters like Rakim or the random rap greats like Unique, but it's some solid underground hip-hop. You can check out snippets and more (they're already planning their next release) at their blog, When releases like this drop in 2010, I feel there's still hope the hip-hop vinyl scene.


  1. I'm going to have to check this one out, good looks man. I was just commenting today on Twitter that the NE has some great artists, Mass, CT, and RI.

  2. Is there a sales link anywhere? I couldn't find one to save my life. Looked at the blog and googled it.

  3. Hmmm... That's a good question. lol
    I know they're taking orders through Paypal, and the e-mail address they're using is

  4. Travis whats the deal. I am taking orders through the email just hit up let me know how many copies you want $10 per copy.Shipping of course depends on your location. Thanx for the support,Peace,Swerve.

  5. This project definitely looks promising. I'm copping.
    It's great that heads are coming out with unreleased regional hip hop on vinyl.