#NerdSwag [Reviews]: CunninLynguists / Onyx / Freddie Gibbs & Madlib

Since Bay Area legends Grouch & Eligh — better known as G&E — took over my entire 3-page #NerdSwag column last week, it’s time to play catch-up. There’s an abundance of dope underground jams floating out there, and the Moody Monsignor is here to preach the good word. So, sit back, shoot down the Almond milk and get ready to load up that iPOD quicker than Dredd on a mutant apocalypse.

STRANGE JOURNEY VOLUME THREE

If you don’t know, all you need to know is that Deacon The Villain, Kno and Natti are the CunninLynguists and they are dope. These sons of the SouthernUnderground have been doing this damn rap thing since ’01, one of the few rap groups — this side of UGK and Outkast — who pack as much lyrical wit as they do flavor. In fact, if it weren’t for a southern twang or two, you’d never guess these kids hailed from Atlanta and Lexington, KT with beats like that. Better yet, their third album A Piece of Strange (2006) is not only among the best rap records of all time, but it helped elevate the group from “dark horse” to “must see” status.

Strange Journey Volume Three, despite the title that indicates a follow-up to the trio’s last 2 mixtapes, S.J. I & II, is their sixth official album and packs more guests than a Wes Anderson film. And it doesn’t take them long to represent the essence of #NerdSwag. The opening track “Strange Universe” feels all sorts of Battlestar Galactica-meets-Gravity in the production, while, thankfully, Natti and guest star Del the Funky Homosapien shred their spacey bars as well as any. Keeping the interstellar theme going, but mellowing the vibe, “In the City” sees Deacon and Zion I’s Zumbi flip some heat over chill synths and acoustic licks. After the Lynguists go “South California” dreamin’…

(Cont. on next page!)

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