Friday, February 20, 2015

Report to the Dance Floor - the Rap-Ture of 832

The phrase Oklahoma sytled rap, might be a premature introduction since it is not a prolific enough demographic to have it's own hip-hop underground style. If there is a Oklahoma style then it involves things like using the lyrics from seventies disco songs to create gospel tinged dramatics. The Rap-ture is a concept album exploring the  debate  between the album's anti-hero and the angel which sits on one shoulder and the devil on it's other. It would also range from having a Jurassic Five feel in the precise yet angular manner the lyrics are spit at you to some of the dirty south bravado, amid the soul searching  going on here.

The devil shoulder obviously is not only the most interesting element lyrically, but lends itself to having a darker backdrop musically. It is not like Bone Thugs when they got high and played with their ouija board  but a much more internal element. They should get credit where it's due int their innovative arrangements that challenge how hip is supposed to go. They shift the beats around mid song, giving an almost bi-polar element, sometimes this takes an Outkast like alien slant. These guys care about the music as much as they do being on point at the microphone when it comes to laying down the freestyle verses.

Singer Juju helps the boys out with the vocal hooks  adding a slick Bruno Mars pop cadence to his hooks. These more melodic and thoughtful moments that proliferate on the first half of the album are the groups strong suit.The sample in "Psycho Woman" reminds me of witch house , which works set against  the dirty south a ghetto mash- up say the Nappy Root and the Three Six Mafia.The gangsta lean returns for songs like "Sic the Dogs on 'em" Juju helps smooth out the hard hitting "War" , which helps out as gong hard doesn't seem to be 832's calling card."The Showdown" employs some interesting edm influenced synths despite the regression back into hood mentality of the rap schemes, the chorus is despite this still catchy. The electronic elements flourish like the Tron soundtrack on "Victory" though in final act of the album they are playing it safer and blending in with the current crop of rap, despite their ear for innovative new beats.

Wilson the V shows up for "the Crown" taking it back to 90's Dungeon family styled Atl rap. If you want to hear  it then some of the raps s construction might feel like  Kayne .This is one of the best produced underground rap albums I have heard in a while. The tug of war between the devil and the angel can also be seen as metaphor for the thematic  tug of war  of  enlightenment  vs going with the same old krunk gangsta lyrics that is lowest common denominator mix tape fodder. They do pull from the last great days of rap in terms of their influence and in doing so make something that is head and shoulders over what is being passed off as hip-hop today. 

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