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.