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Lostribe

Sophie

(CFO Recordings; US: 23 Aug 2011; UK: 23 Sep 2011)

So-so outing from NoCal crew

Sometimes hip-hop crews don’t try hard enough—the beats are dull, the lyrics clichéd, the tempos repetitive. Other times, though, the crew tries too hard. NoCal’s Lostribe falls into this category. With a constantly shifting sonic palette of samples, beats, effects, and polysyllabic tongue-twisters, emcees JustLuv and Augustus ThElefant sometimes forget about basics like flow, groove and beat. “Come Down” is typical, squandering a catchy, beat-heavy opening for repeated interruptions of irrelavant samples. When the guys get going, as on the excellent “Boombox”, they’re as head-bobbing as anybody out there. But the way most songs are stitched together, you’ll be lucky to hear 30 or 40 seconds of uninterrupted groove. It’s too bad, because some of the lyrics are clever, especially on “Boombox” and “Live Like a Rebel”, but jarring interruptions—sampling everything from cheesy R&B vocals to electronic grunts and bleeps—prevent the vibe from settling in a satisfying way. Looking for a standout track? Try “Futuristic Fly”, with a thumping bassline and vocal guests The CUF. More of that, please.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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