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Custom Made

Truth Be Told EP

(Rawkus; US: 15 May 2007)

Custom Made are on a mission to bring back L.A. hip-hop.  And while Truth Be Told might set them up to do just that, it does so with a heavy East coast influence.  First track, “Where It Goes Down”, is full of angry energy, each MC spitting their rhyme like its their last over heavy drums and lilting piano lines.  It’s a song that would sound more at home on 36 Chambers than Straight Outta Compton.  “Gutta Rap” slows things down, letting the rap group get more confessional without losing any of their venom.  What makes Custom Made’s music distinctly West coast it its tales of life in L.A.  And while the picture they paint isn’t a new one—drugs, gangs, violence—it is delivered with a healthy dose of both worry and love for the place Custom Made calls home.  As an EP, though, Truth Be Told runs a little long—just over 45 minutes—and is crowded by nearly as man skits as there are songs.  And the songs themselves are strong in their own right, but put together they sound a little too much like each other; the same heavy drums, the same piano, a few other flourishes here and there.  The way these guys flow, which is as smooth and well-crafted as any other young rappers out there, goes a long way toward overlooking the songs’ sameness.  But, now that Custom Made have their flow down, they might go back and sure up the hooks.  This is an EP from a solid hip-hop group with a ton of potential, and they have a full-length due in the fall that’ll hopefully show just what they can do with all this talent.


Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.

Tagged as: custom made
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