Another fantastic Cali emcee-and-producer duo lend a helping hand, as the dusty sounds of “Akfam” — featuring Blu & Exhile — would make Portishead jealous. Grouch kills it, of course: “An optimist.. you knocking these songs? / I opened my doors, they tossin’ these stones / Well, let me draw something like my daughter does / Higher thoughts than you thought, what you thought it was?”
Oh, we’re not done, congregants. Let’s “Begin” with the Melancholy Gypsy’s latest solo endeavor, Nomads. The disc consists entirely of Eligh’s production, so expect an onslaught of triumphant horns, stacatto drum rolls, moody violin strings, and the most rapid-fire rhymes you’ll hear on the Left Coast. More than anything, this is an album for jazz-heads. Those who just want to lay in the cut, light up a spliff and sip on some good Japanese imported whatever will enjoy the good vibes of “Refuge”, “Journey”, and “Morning After”. Hell, I thought drum-and-base was dead up until I “Paid the Price”.
In addition to the enjoyable instrumental tracks Eligh conjures up, the Melancholy Gypsy also displays quite the lyrical introspection as his brethren. Fugees fans will love “My God Song’s” vocal samples and challenge of humanity; “All On You” sounds straight out of something from Foreign Exchange; and “Dark Tinted” sounds like an M.I.A. leftover, packing a bubbly backdrop that most may opt to skip. Eligh isn’t afraid to explore darker subjects than his counterpart Grouch, ripping through his emotional demons on “Addicted to Pain” and “The Healer”, to which the latter is clearly the record’s Everlast moment, reflective of many of the uplifting vibes of 333.
Since the Moody Monsignor is no less than a Superfan of the experimental greatness of OutKast’s classic album Aquemini, it should come as no surprise that Nomads is also my personal favorite of the project. Throw in a pair of incredible joints with both the Grouch (“Walk the Walk”) and Ellay Khule (on the mystical flutes of “A Different Way”) and you best believe I’ll be keeping this disc on repeat.
So, no matter your ear preference, there’s plenty of variety throughout The Tortoise and The Crow that will please just about any lobe.
The Grouch & Eligh’s The Tortoise and The Crow is now available on iTunes, Amazon and wherever dope hip-hop is sold. G&E will also be performing at The Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood next Friday, April 4th. You can buy tickets here.