Tuesday, July 30, 2013

2 Yutes Represent the Garden State

Here's a nice, obscure little Jersey gem: "2 Yutes" by Hybrid H, a pair of MCs named The Herbalist and Moe Mentum. This 12" single came out in 2004, courtesy of Infinite Impact LLC, and it's pretty much their only release. Technically, their was a full-length CD, called Out of Hybrination; but if you were never at one of their shows to hit up their merch table, or order it direct from their website back when they had one, you'll probably never see it. But this 12" got out into the marketplace... where it was promptly slept on, because it was t first release by an unknown artist. But it's accessible if you want to pick it up, and after reading this you might want to.

So I didn't even have to drop the needle on the vinyl to get the joke of the title. It's a My Cousin Vinny reference. If you don't remember it, just youtube it... said by Fred Gwynne, it's the most famous line of the movie (after Marisa Tomei's pants), so I'm sure it's in the trailer. But in case anybody missed it, they spell it out in the first line of the song: "I was just a yute like in My Cousin Vinny." And I almost wish they hadn't. "2 Yutes" is actually a pretty engaging song about growing up, over some nice production by producer 8th Wundah, who also kicks a guest verse. And apart from explaining the reference in the first line, they don't actually use it... they don't sample the film on the hook or tie either the accent or the film to the content of their rhyme; they don't have fun with it. It just kinda cheapens a pretty solid, indie hip-hop track into an "oh, I get it" moment. It doesn't ruin the song or anything, but a song's title shouldn't be something you have to get past to appreciate it.

The next track is "Clock Wise," which is another nicely produced beat by 8th Wundah. Conceptually, it's not so compelling... they're just generally flexing and rapping about themselves; and they're solid MCs, but not to the point where just them spitting is exciting in itself. So, lyrically it's filler, with only the beat making any real impression.

But then we get to the song that drew me in... "Garden State." These guys are definitely representing New Jersey. They've already mentioned it in "2 Yutes" and there's even a map of the state on the back cover. Anyway, this one's produced by somebody named Linguistic, with some very welcome cuts by DJ Mekalek. It's got a bouncier sound than 8th's stuff, but is still good stuff, especially with the added value of the scratches, rubbing in Biz Markie saying "can't forget New Jersey" and a various other hip-hop "Jersey" vocal samples. And lyrically, it's just a slew of shameless Jersey references strung together... everything from The Sugarhill Gang to the turnpike.

Look, I'm not as excited about this 12" as I was about Written On Your Psyche - The Herbalist sounds a little too much like Hot Karl for comfort, and there's the occasional corny line in the mix that should probably have been quality controlled out - but it's definitely an all-around good 12", especially for an obscure indie record you've probably never heard of, with added value for any Jersey head. It also comes in a nice looking picture cover and has instrumentals for both of 8th Wundah's tracks, as well as Clean and Dirty versions of each song. This isn't one of those records foreign dignitaries bid thousands of dollars for; but I definitely recommend it as a cheap pick-up.

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