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Shape

Raised Near the Power Lines

(Divisioneast; US: 5 Jun 2007; UK: Unavailable)

At first, Shape’s production appears to outpace his lyrical abilities, as he unleashes a furious set of borderline industrial-style hip-hop beats, boasting a griminess similar to the haunting and captivating concoctions of vintage Wu-Tang. With needle-on-the-record static behind keys, strings, and clever vocal samples, the soundscapes are immediately exciting, so much so that you might not notice this guy has a pretty sick flow and a flare for unusual but potent similes (“I feel a lot like a lottery ticket that won’t scratch off”). Then again, maybe Shape creates the speculation himself with lines like: “My rhyme style comes second to the ghost inside my beats”. In actuality, he’s solid on both accounts—as a rapper and as a producer—but his beatmaking experiments are, by nature, easier to interpret as “pushing for the next level”, whereas a stream of consciousness delivery seems disjointed, especially when delivered in a nasally monotone that sometimes sounds like a schoolchild calling out words when asked to read aloud. Mainly, this debut puts Shape’s skills on full display, from the dope posse cut “Gary Oldman” (yeah, like the dude who played Lee Harvey Oswald in Oliver Stone’s JFK) to the bump-friendly flavor of “Rock Like This” and the geopolitical-minded “Super Heroes”.  While Shape can enhance his product by putting more thought into the statements he wishes to make, he certainly possesses the tools to do so when he’s ready.

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Quentin Huff is an attorney, writer, visual artist, and professional tennis player who lives and works in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In addition to serving as an adjunct professor at Wake Forest University School of Law, he enjoys practicing entertainment law. When he's not busy suing people or giving other people advice on how to sue people, he writes novels, short stories, poetry, screenplays, diary entries, and essays. Quentin's writing appears, or is forthcoming, in: Casa Poema, Pemmican Press, Switched-On Gutenberg, Defenestration, Poems Niederngasse, and The Ringing Ear, Cave Canem's anthology of contemporary African American poetry rooted in the South. His family owns and operates Huff Art Studio, an art gallery specializing in fine art, printing, and graphic design. Quentin loves Final Fantasy videogames, Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible, his mother Earnestine, PopMatters, and all things Prince.


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