Sunday, December 12, 2010

Introduction of a Character Problem Child

You know what's frustrating? When you heard a cool song once on the radio, but you weren't sure what the name of it was or who it was by... and as time passes, you're looking for that song but never find it. Eventually, like 15 years later - thanks probably to the internet - you finally find out what that song was... and it was never released, and you still can't get it! With so many shows playing exclusive DAT recordings or demo tapes, it's a sadly recurring story for fans of indie, 90's hip-hop. But at least one of those cases has finally been resolved satisfactorily.

The Constant Deviants were one of those artists whose demos got played on Stretch and Bobbito in the mid 90's. They're essentially a Baltimore crew, but I think at the time they were staying in Jersey when they broke into the east coast indie scene. And while they did go on to drop a couple of 12"s over the years, including some stuff through Buds Distribution which you've probably seen around, hardcore connoisseurs were stuck with nothing but dodgy radio rips of two of their best cuts: "Problem Child" and "Feel That." Well, Six 2 Six Records (that label I just guest blogged for) has stepped up to correct that. In fact, you might remember me blogging about them early in the year, saying how they needed a little encouragement to get their stuff the proper final treatment, right? Well, they've done it and this is it. 8)

"Problem Child" b/w "Feel That" comes in a fresh picture cover and is pressed on clear vinyl in a limited pressing of 500 copies. For those who haven't been waiting impatiently all this time and don't know what to expect: Constant Deviants aren't really on that rugged, rah rah tip, but more of a smooth, summer cool out kinda vibe. Think a little bit Unspoken Heard or early Juggaknots. They've got some nice, quality scratches by DJ Cutt who clearly knows what he's doing, but it's all played very low-key. There's no hectic scratch frenzy break-down, but the cuts are there, adding another level. And similarly, M.I.C. doesn't go for showy punchlines or hyper-kinetic spitting... just an assured, easy-to-listen-to flow. He comes with a message that's essentially the same as 3rd Bass's "Problem Child" - natch - though presented in a little more of a reserved, autobiographical manner.

"Problem Child" is undoubtedly the one for me, but "Feel That" has a cool, distorted sonic loop as the driving sample, which is really addictive. And this 12" doesn't just finally give us these two songs in pristine sound quality for the first time, plus instrumentals... There's also a "Problem Child" remix. It's almost a cross between the two songs, with the vocals from the original "Problem Child" (of course), but set to an instrumental that's more in the vibe of "Feel That."

At the end of the day, it's all good music. It may not be the most attention-grabbing "oh shit; I need that!" material to come out of the limited scene; but if you appreciate hip-hop's subtle side, you're sure to be feeling everything on here. And like their music, the pricing is also more down-to-Earth than most of the other limiteds these days, which definitely helps. So for the heads who've been holding onto low-quality cassette rips of these songs, it's definitely a happy ending.

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