Portland hip-hop crew shines on sophomore release
Culture Shock is the second full-length album from Portland, Oregon-based crew Animal Farm, following 2008’s debut The Unknown. The new record has a handful of guests and an up-and-coming producer, but what matters are the grooves, the beats and the lyrics, and the band comes through on all fronts. “Down to Business” uses twangy guitar and a rising bassline to underline its message of mainstream hip-hop’s infleunce on its audience. The indie/alternative/underground vibe runs through many songs, most notably “DIY”, which chronicles the band’s approach to producing and releasing its own music. But words are only part of the story, and the variety of grooves ranges from reggae beats on “Music for Idiots” to the soulful vocals backing “G.U.N.S. (Generation Under No Shield)” to the funky bass/guitar stylings of album closer “Can’t Give Up”. As a bonus, there is a blissful lack of braggadocio: “My service that I ignite through these verses / Try to always remember that I might not be perfect”. When was the last time you heard a rapper say that?