Max Bell shot the mayor.
Jeff already lamented the deluge of hardly memorable music that floods the net daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. I concur and won’t elaborate much (and suggest you read said lament). I will say that it’s especially trying when it comes to this rappity rap stuff. With seemingly every “rap blog” content to share the same content, much gets lost, much never gets picked up, and much makes me wish there was a cannabis clinic closer to my pad to smoke more of what I’m convinced is the cure. What I’m saying is that it’s rare to find a track you’ll replay immediately after it’s over, if at all. So this one goes out to EarthGang, who probably haven’t scrolled through a “rap blog” in years, and whose music I’ve been replaying since I stumbled upon it.
EarthGang (it’s one word) consists of Atlanta natives Doctur Dot and Johnny Venus. If their Bandcamp is any indication, they’ve been steadily releasing better and better music since 2010, including the two free albums Good News (worth sorting through for some serious gems) and Mad Men (“Westside Like Gatsby” is possibly the greatest title for a rap song currently in my brain, and the song is pretty, pretty good too).
The video for their Left Lane Lonnie produced “Fire Kicking Tree Limbs” (released last October), which can only be the title from some lost Wu-Tang track circa 1998, dropped on Friday. Right now it has criminally low number of views (sub-100), while this ex-Degrassi cast member muppet racks up that many in minute. See what I mean about tracks getting lost in the shit storm?
The beat for “Fire Kicking Tree Limbs,” which is both bluesy and banging boom-bap, is proof that sampling right loop, freaking it with care, and adding some hard drums will always work. And the rhymes from all three MCs clear the subpar bar like Jesse Williams, or something.
Venus’ opening lines, “Sitting here, room getting smaller by the minute,” evoke the first lines of the Geto Boys classic “Mind Playing Tricks On Me.” Basically, if your lyrics smack of one of the greatest rap songs of all time, you’re in good company and probably worth checking out. Fellow ATL native Money Makin’ Nique—he dropped a solid EP over AraabMuzik suites last November—delivers a lyrically deft and impassioned guest verse (“I carry arms like an arachnid”), along with some of the best meta-rap commentary in 2013: “But I know niggas came here to hear me to talk shit/Since the verse started I ain’t fucked a girl or bought shit.”
But my favorite verse goes to Doctur Dot, who, knowingly or not, has taken a page out of sir Kendrick’s book in adopting the strained and comedic accent. In said accent he also drops the mantra for every trap rapper ever: “Invested in drugs, pussy, money/money,pussy, drugs.” DJ’s everywhere should be thanking him for giving them the perfect vocal loop to mix in with their Juicy J. Still, Dot saves the best for last, ending his verse with what are my favorite lyrics of 2013: “And I’m a well made hell raising son of a 12-gauge/Been on my Coolio since the Keenan & Kel days.”
The track ends with Dot delivering what could either be an invitation to follow EarthGang’s musical journey, or a challenge anyone wanting to start Twitter beef or, you know, make an actual diss record: “For everybody born in the ’90s, come find me.” I fall in with the former camp, as I made the life changing decision not to rap after a failed and humiliating battle in 9th grade. If you’re planning on taking on Dot or Venus, I hope you have a similar experience soon.
EarthGang’s latest offering apart from the above video is “Machete” (below the jump), a supremely spacey affair produced by a guy or collective named 808 Mafia. You should bea able to draw your own conclusions about how Lex Luger it sounds from that alone. But to me, it’s what Waka would sound like if his main influence was Outkast, or “…what you get if Lauryn Hill slipped up and let Juvenile hit.” Either way, I recommend it, along with “The F Bomb.”
“Fire Kicking Tree Limbs,” “Machete,” and “The F Bomb,” are all slated for their Shallow Graves (For Toys) EP, which, as far as I know, has no set release date. So, for now, it’s something to look forward to while you sort through EarthGang’s back catalogue. Hopefully you’ll hear about the EP when it drops.