Friday, September 6, 2013

Some Nice Underground Shit

Sometimes it's cool to just dig out a nice, underground 12", isn't it? Just some random artist you've never heard of, drop the needle on the record, and thank goodness it doesn't suck. Let it play through, and slowly realize this is nice... solid production, good flow, decent lyrics. The guy doesn't have to be your next favorite rapper, setting the streets on fire and breaking new ground. Just a good quality antidote to whatever nonsense is playing on the radio or being paraded across TMZ.

Here's one. An EP by a guy called Sef the X-Cutioner, entitled Evian on Flowasis Records (apparently a one-off label) from 2001. Yeah, 2001 is a bit newer than your average "random rap" head usually checks for, and is a dangerous period for finding disappointment; but this it pays off.

Dude is from Chicago. He's got production from The Molemen and Opus of Rubberroom. He seems pretty connected to have a single release career, but googling around and his only other credit seems to be a track on a Chicago mixtape from Mass Hysteria a couple years later. He also has a myspace. There's no info left there anymore, thanks to the incredibly wasteful myspace purge earlier this year, but he has another EP's worth of songs on there from 2008, called Sophisticated Street Shit. That's not as good, though.

This EP, on the other hand, is nice. He's got a very deep Rockness Monstah-like voice, and a penchant for slightly complex (nothing too mind-bending) battle rhymes with a rugged street edge: "Make no mistake in ya/ Savage lyrically rapin' ya/ Mom heads straight for ya/ When she sees the crime tape on ya/ Breakin' ya in half/ Last laugh goes to Sef." Imagine a smoother, less chaotic Saafir. The production's simple but effective headnodder stuff - you know how The Molemen do. And Opus injects some extra atmosphere for his part. Tracks like "Medevil[sic.]" and "The Realness" will definitely having you go back for seconds, while "The Struggle" rounds out the package with some lyrical some substance. And at just five songs (plus a Clean version of the opener), it's lean and consistent.

This was released on both vinyl and CD (maybe cassette, too?), and it's easy to find online if you want some heat without breaking open the piggy bank.

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