Damn. It’s been a while. But that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been an array of good music to hit the deck. In fact, I decided to add a couple of new features to my next #NerdSwag column: The Mixtape Monastery and Retro-Flectin’. The first of the new features will explore the bangin’ mixtapes that aren’t exactly albums, but are no less than exactly dope. With Retro-Flection, I pick an album (could be old school, or even something from last year) that I believe deserves another look. So lemme know what you think of the new additions in next week’s piece. For now, enjoy this triple-disc review…
THE TORTOISE & THE CROW
Thanks to the three disc package of Bay Area beat-claps and mesmerizing intellect, the latest album(s) from The Grouch & Eligh has taken over the entire column. Why? 2.5-hours of DOPE music. That’s why.
The Tortoise & The Crow consists of a joint G&E venture (333), and solo dishes from both Grouch (Lighthouses) and Eligh (Nomads). If you’re familiar with the veteran emcees from the Living Legends camp, this surplus of music shouldn’t surprise you. If you’re not, what better way to jump on than with 41 songs for a very miniscule price? Even better — or a much larger headache for the rhymers-at-hand — imagine all of the fresh new shit you’ll hear at one of their shows?!! G&E are currently on tour, thanks to Kickstarter and their none-more-faithful fanbase.
Lighthouses offers a plethora of hip-hop quotables over groovy strings (“Good Man”), soothing sax loops (“Stuff is Tuff”), and soaring vocal samples (“My Garden”). The Grouch has always been one of indie-hop’s most respected emcees, persistently nailing the conscience of listeners while packing a mic cadence that offers enough flavor for the more casual listener. While his message can be very real (“Many ranges, strong body and brain shiftin’ / And take it to the spiritual, disappear with you to the ancient”), Grouch hardly comes off overly preachy or mundane. You never know when a cute pop culture reference, a bitter strike to the heart, or humorously delayed metaphor will come from the rapper’s “virtual trashcan,” either.
(Cont. on next page!)