I have to say that I am amazed at the amount of great hip hop coming out of the Rockford area. Who would have thought that the River City would spawn such a vibrant hip hop scene? Well, while we are no Detroit or LA we've got Judah the Lyrical Rev, The Bridge and Problem Addict - to name just a few. This CD from that last outfit is a fine example of the versatility and quality that Rockford's rappers are putting out there.
The mix of music on this CD is versatile and potent. It's not not your standard fare. Combining jazzy sounds with more typical R & B textures is just the beginning. These guys use sound clips and quirky musical textures to create a sound that is all their own. "Geez" in particular is a unique track with a sort of traditional Latin musical sound as its backdrop. "Smokin and Drinkin" is another that sticks out with a warbly old time soundscape. It's weird, but really grows on you.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the whole affair, though is the rapping itself. There are some great fast paced, bouncing textures to a lot of this. The lyrics tell some interesting stories, too. "What Goes Down" has an powerful theme about Fathers who don't stand up to the responsibility of their children - and the effect that it has. "Teenage Idle" seems to be directed at the lack of talent in modern pop music. "Snuffed Out" seems to address the same issue with a focus on how hip hop has been getting diluted by incorporation into pop and rock music. At least that seems to be one of the themes of the track.
It should be mentioned that, like a lot of hip hop, those who are offended by swearing should probably steer clear of this disc. For the rest of us, though, it's a potent release from an talented group. It should definitely please those in the hip hop crowd, but might be an interesting listening experience for anyone who likes music that challenges borders and creates unique musical territory.