Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Concurrent Example

So, I think I might've made some slight, tiny mention of the fact that the second part of Young Zee's Musical Meltdown has finally dropped on Dope Folks Records. And I've been kinda excited about it. I mean, you might've missed it, because I've been real subtle about it; but yeah. So, instead of doing a blog post about it - which would probably just wind up reiterating all the things I said about it back when it was still pending - I thought I'd write about the other record Dope Folks dropped at the same time. Yeah, they usually put out their records in pairs, which is great for shipping, but almost made me totally miss this one, eclipsed as it was by a record I've been pining almost 20 years for.

I'm talking about Progressions (The Austin St. Suites) by Example. It's a two-man pairing consisting of Dekay and DJ Cipher, and like their title suggests, these guys are from Texas. They're down with those K-Otix guys, and like that group, they... well, "backpacker" isn't quite the right phrase for them, but they definitely eschew the styles you'd typically associate with hip-hop from their particular state. They're definitely more lyrical and jazzy, sort of the artsy intellectual types you expect to find in jamming a small city club than blowing up on the charts. Think of a more down-to-Earth Boogiemonsters, or better yet - remember The Dereliks, who released the very underground "I Am a Record" in the mid-90's? These guys remind me of them.

Which I guess has pretty much been their narrative. They've been around for a long time, and they've even had a release on Dope Folks before this one. Last year, DF repressed their highly sought after "random rap" EP release Impulses from 1997, which is one of those rarities that goes for big bucks among hardcore collectors. Well, this time they're pressing up Example's 2001 self-released album, Progressions, which was originally a CD-only release (ughh even used to carry it), making this its vinyl debut.

This is technically an LP, as opposed to their previous EP, but it's right on the line. It's ten tracks long, but that includes an Intro, a short spoken word track and a long piano solo you'll be skipping after the first listen. But of course quality is what counts, not quantity, and who doesn't love a strong EP? Within those remaining seven tracks, you've still got thoughtful, introspective songs, moody, personal songs, creative concept songs, and a posse cut with K-Otix and an unexpected and show-stealing verse by Bun-B. The highlights definitely impress, though it also feels like it's meandering around sometimes, short of direction or focus.

Ultimately, I don't think it's as essential as Impulses, but it's still a cool, obscure find that's worthy of being rescued and re-presented to the public by a label like DF. It's limited to 300 copies and comes in a sticker cover matching the original CD cover. You have to specifically be in the mood for an album like this, but when that moment hits, you'll be loving it. Then you'll put it away and forget about it for a long time until that vibe strikes again. It's good to have a few of those in your collection, just enough to rediscover every few years. So, if you're picking up Musical Meltdown Pt. 2 [and if you're not, you'll regret it!], you might as well throw this in the cart at the same time and save on shipping.  8)

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