"Unique" a Rare Hip-Hop Triumph for DeepSpace5
- Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Title: "Unique, Like Everyone Else"
Label: Gotee Records
Legendary underground collective DS5 has managed to achieve a nearly impossible task – give nine very different members equal time without sacrificing cohesiveness. Fortunately for new and old fans, the mission is accomplished. This balanced project bursts with character, cleverness and creativity, not to mention humor and heart.
"Unique" marks only the second time in seven years the entire group – made up of mostly solo artists from across the map – have managed to record a project. So much testosterone and talent pooled in one studio seems to have pushed everyone beyond the excellence of their individual projects, both in flow and content.
Where manChild (Mars Ill) pretzel twists lyrics, Playdough (Ill Harmonics) untwists them with playful wit. Where Sivion slinks and slithers around the beat, Fred B. bulldogs the rhythm at every turn. Where Sev Static (Tunnel Rats) tosses verbal molotovs, Sintax delivers treatises. And just when the group seems to strike a perfect balance, Listener shakes things up with inspired shocks of lyrical vertigo. Main producers, DJ Dust (Mars Ill) and Beat Rabbi, hit the bull's-eye on most tracks, morphing dirty old blues rock licks, brass samples and sharp snares into wholly original everyman anthems.
Balance is the rule throughout "Unique." The muscular stomp, “Talk Music,” sets the tone, featuring Jackson Pollack references next to chest-pumping rhymes about “humdingers.” Tracks on "Unique" sometimes tickle, sometimes cut to the quick. Unflinching meditations on loss (“If I Don’t Make It”) give way to silver-lined praise (“Brilliant”) and a hilarious shuffle for worst MC on “Humble Stew.” Other highlights include the minimalist swagger of “One and the Same” and the brilliantly themed “Mechanical Advantage.”
In an age where hip-hop is being overshadowed by media-fueled, commercially corrupted rap music, projects like this can get overlooked. Unlike so much in Top 40 today, "Unique, Like Everyone Else" is a rare triumph of substance over image that warrants the attention of rap and non-rap fans alike.
© 2005 CCM Magazine. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Click here to subscribe.
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