Sunday, September 29, 2013

Grand Killa Con

So I just blogged about Sacred Hoop's old '94 demo tape getting reissued, but what're they up to these days? Well, as it happens, Luke Sick has a new album out, kinda like Dose One or Kool Keith in the sense where every new project is a new group. Rime Force Most Illin' was him and Rob Rush, Brougham was him and Third Eye Blind, Motel Crew was him, Z-Man and Doug Surreal. Underbucket was him and DJ Eons, Grand Invincible was also him and Eon, Get the Hater was him and The Dwarves, The Disturbers was him and... god knows. Well, this new album, Year Of the Tre Bag, is by him and a producer named Brycon - together they're known as Grand Killa Con.

You may've noticed that a bunch of those groups mentioned above are Luke working with rock artists or other not-strictly-hip-hop types. Happily, that's not the case. This is the first I've heard of Brycon, though I looked him up and apparently he's done a couple tracks for guys like Murs in the past. This is just some regular, underground hip-hop shit; and I mean that in the best possible way. One song ("Cloven Hoof") is like a vintage Saafir track, with Luke rhyming like the nomad (though without biting his unique "chockin'" flow from Boxcar Sessions) and Brycon cooking up that sounds like it was quietly borrowed from The Junction library.

Nothing else here borrows from Saafir, except that it's raw, underground and west coast. Luke is his incomparable self, and Brycon provides a wide variety of hard tracks for him. One beat has big horn samples, another chops a large chunk of an old r&b record including the vocals, and another is all dark and ominous atmosphere with a grumbling bassline. Interestingly, the effect is that album doesn't feel like another Luke Sick side project or group - it feels like his first solo album.

This is a full, fourteen track album. I was disappointed that the original "Hemmed Pt. 1" isn't on here - an advance track they leaked onto Youtube earlier in the year - But there is a "Pt. 2," with new verses over the same, smooth instrumental. And one track here, "Cinderblocks & Cyanide," is labeled as a remix - where was the original? But a fan's desire for completionism [screw you, spell check, I say it IS a word!] aside, this is a super solid, very consistent album. Well... maybe I could've done without one song called "Dynasty Killa" with a shrill instrumental and a guest rapper named Lightbulb; but otherwise this is a very full and rewarding album.

I have a feeling no matter what I write, not many heads will bother to check this one out... one more side project to lose track of by an already criminally slept on MC. But anyone who does is going to be glad they did. Consider it a secret prize for being one of the few in the know. It's the kind of album you can leave on repeat all night. And right now, it seems to only be available as a digital download (here); but I was laced with a CD with proper artwork, which makes me hope that a physical release might be just around the corner, even if it's only some low-key, limited run primarily for the merch tables.

...And if you're wondering, like I was, what about a return of the ACTUAL Sacred Hoop, with Luke Sick on the mic and Vrse on the beats, no more substitutes, I'm pleased to say that I've been told they are recording together again - I even heard a little mp3 advance of a song they were working on. So hang tight, and seriously, don't be afraid to explore Grand Killa Con while you wait.

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