To find a niche in the overcrowded world of hip-hop is never an easy task, but Optional 2 might have the talent to do it. On its debut album, Moment of Truth, the Goucher College-based duo displays a wide musical palette, infectious energy, and a sense of humor. By creating beats that are colorful amalgamations of his own performances on bagpipes, organ, piano, guitar, and turntables, Robespierre helps Thursday Knight write funky, adventurous songs. Their ambition is admirable if not completely successful. Although the album’s rap cover of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” will leave some listeners crying blasphemy, Optional 2’s only real sin is its inexperience, which shows itself in flows that need work and a mix that favors the beats too heavily. Moment of Truth is not a great album, but it is a reason to keep an eye out for Optional 2’s future releases.
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