Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Bronx & Queens Unite On Freestyle Records

Da Gritty & da Grimey EP by Branesparker and Nut-Rageous is limited, but it's been released in a much larger run than the Freestyle Professors 7" I just reviewed yesterday - 750 copies, as opposed to 200. 750's probably a lot for an independent artist these days (which is a sad commentary on the state of things), so the pressure to act quickly on this EP isn't as strong. But it's no less dope for that fact.

This EP's entirely produced by Branesparker, and he and Nutso share lead vocal responsibilities, though Professors' extended family member Giff and Stanley Grimes each put in an appearance here. Grimes has also done an appearance or two with Lord Finesse, which follows since thhe FPs are essentially DITC associated artists...

In fact, here's the thing that's so good about the FPs in general and this EP in particular. While the artists of DITC have struggled to maintain the quality the quality they first brought to the table in spades (seriously, I'm nto sayi8ng they're all crap now or anything, but like OC or Diamond D's Huge Heffner Chronicles anyone? And let's not even think about Fat Joe), it's like the FPs were kept locked in a time capsule since their original EP in 1994. So their new music is following right where they left off fifteen years ago, uninfluenced by all the trends and crappy newer artists who've influenced the rest of the crew for the worse. ...Not that every song here is 100% on par with Runaway Slave or the very best DITC ever did; it's just this particular affiliate group has apparently been preserved and spared from the otherwise seemingly inevitable decline all their other satellite groups faced. I love it. =)

This EP has some nice, surprisingly upbeat moments. For example, "Haze" sounds like it uses the same break and bassline from Sir Menelik's underrated "Physical Jewels," but marries it with a cheery, old school vocal sample. Several of these songs, in fact the overall feel of this EP, come off as more light and feel-good than you'd think, considering the title of this EP. But that's okay, because it's good; and "good" trumps any expectation of style or theme.

Overall, you get six songs, plus two instrumentals in a sticker cover (shown). And despite being limited, it's only beiong sold for $18, which is pretty much the price of a standard new release. I mean, maybe it's a dollar or two more expensive, considering it's an EP rather than an LP; but we'd really splitting hairs at that point. Between the two, I have to say I slightly prefer the Freestyle Professors 7" over this one, but this one gets props for breaking formula a little (successfully); and I can't really say a bad word about either of them.

You can check out the video they shot for one of the EP tracks, "It's a Shame," here.

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