Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Demo Round-Up: Summer Edition


Welcome back to GLmag’s Demo Round-up. Every month we receive loads of promos from artists on all levels of the game. Folks on major labels, large scale indies, regional cats, and bedroom producers. What this feature focuses on are the low key releases from artists who are grinding hard for their careers. Acts who you may have never heard of, but nonetheless deserve attention despite not having big money backing or 6-digit promotional budgets.

This month we’ve got a double dose selection of homegrown Hip-hop from Brother Reade (CA) & Ignite Mindz (NC)

Brother Reade
Rap Music
Record Collection Music 2007

On the opening salvo to Rap Music where MC Jimmy Jamz states “They told me that classics never go outta style, but they do…” I was understandably apprehensive about what was to follow. Was the album going to be club bangers with superficial rhymes? Or were they going to millennium-ize Primo’s tried and true formula? The answer is a bit of both. Rap Music builds on the the stripped down 808 style of production that’s huge with the hipster set, but steers clear of subject matter that goes down easy with a 40 oz. in hand. On “It Ain’t Easy for Y’all,” producer Bobby Evans’ drum programming is highly organic, with a thumping kick, minimal hi-hats, and a rimshot but bridges the gap into 2007 with a synth-droned melody floating in the background. Lyrically, Jamz shows both humor and profundity on the hook declaring “This is for the strippers and the fans of the Clippers, Life ain’t easy for y’all.” On “Work Ain’t for Players” Evans channels his inner Dilla with snaps in lieu of snares and a kick that sounds like it’s being sucked into a black hole. “Gimme the Cash” and “The Loft Party Classics” feature Jamz spitting story rhymes on par with early Slick Rick or Ghostface on a bad day. As a whole, Brother Reade successfully creates a conscious rap album that’s neither overly preachy nor an homage to the ‘Golden Era.” By carving a progressive sound rooted in true school lyrical content, Rap Music goes a long way in proving that classics are a thing of the past.

Ignite Mindz
Psychological Warfare
Classic Records 2007

While the southern East Coast has always boasted worthy Hip Hop acts, Black Sheep, Outkast, The Clipse, and the Timberland camp (minus Magoo) being a few notable examples, it seemed as though it wasn’t until Little Brother dropped The Listening that the underground massive realized that ‘real’ rap could come from below the Mason-Dixon line. Since then, Little Brother has split up and 9th Wonder’s production lost it’s novelty but in their wake, I still find non-snap/non-double time Southern Hip Hop being compared, almost reverently, what they created in 2003. Making strides to both build upon and escape Little Brother’s shadow is the group, Ignite Mindz. With an album cover which suggests too-complex-for-you rhymes and beatless, Def Jux-esque production lie within, Psychological Warfare flips the script completely with a hefty album of soul stirring beats and thought provoking rhymes. As an MC and producer, Ignite Mindz is 7 outta 10, but like the saying goes “Pick one thing and do it well” and that he does. Touching on topics from politics, near death experiences, to story rhymes and party and bullshit type jams, Mindz shows his versatility while avoiding “making music that only other MC’s would appreciate.” On the production side, we’re blessed with head nodders that serve a bigger purpose than to smack you in the face. Creating a definite atmosphere which, more often that not, supports his subject matter, Psychological Warfare achieves what many major label albums do not… continuity.


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