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Dichotomy B

  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 1 Nov
Dichotomy B
Sounds like … the antithesis of the duo's Dichotomy A album, with sounds that are more summery and celebratory than its predecessorAt a glance … perhaps this Dichotomy should have released first, as it will win back over the many fans that didn't know what to make of the unevenness of album ATrack ListingOn My WayIf IOpen WindowsWe Don't PlayThere I GoFeel My FlowU Want ItSaved SoulIn Your EyesSippin' Some TeaNext (interlude)Wanna Be With YouStressin' Me

After the critical and commercial appeal of The Art of Translation, many weren't quite ready for the stylistic curveball known as Dichotomy A, the first of a two-album series released by hip-hop innovators GRITS. The ten-year veterans indulged themselves a bit with that album, paying homage to their Southern roots, with minimal regard for radio airplay. But fans wanted the catchy pop of albums past, and were thrown for a slight loop when they lent their ears to Dichotomy A.

In many ways, Dichotomy B is a better stylistic bridge between old school and new school GRITS. Had it been released before A, it would've prepared listeners for the duo's new direction more effectively, since it hints at their autumnal, more conscious leanings, but retains most of the flavor of Translation-era GRITS. Bathed in Virginia Beach sunniness, for example, the blazin' "If I" sounds every bit as hot as a Timbaland and Missy Elliott collaboration, while the breezy "Open Windows" is chill without being nocturnal as many of the A sessions. The rock-and-reggae-slapped "We Don't Play" is an exponentially better cousin to the group's "Seriously," an already authoritative statement of mission.

Coffee and Bonafide still get idiosyncratic in spots, like in the frenetic "Saved Soul" and the horn-drenched "Stressin' Me," but by the time those tracks come on, they've dished out enough familiarity to set spirits at ease. For a moment or two they'll even reach as far back as their Factors of the Seven days ("Wanna Be With You"), further proof that the last thing on the group's mind is alienating people with their flights of fancy. Rather, GRITS seems to want to take us by the hand, slowly guiding us through the many dichotomies of their never-conventional art.