G-Side’s Huntsville-rooted, codeine-hazed strain of Southern rap has been steadily acclaimed over the course of their last couple albums, and the surface-level theory for this is that they’ve hit on a crucial crossover appeal that makes blog buzz work on their terms. iSLAND doesn’t seem much different in that sense: The album starts out with a declaration of independence that aims to turn their haven away from outside pressure into a nation of their own, and that mission statement leads into an album that aims to play smarter rather than harder. Block Beattaz’s cloudy production makes a point of incorporating out-of-left-field indie favorites into their synth-heavy slow-motion approach — they don’t see a need to glom on to Skrillex’s bombast for dubstep cred when Joy Orbison’s hypnotic “Hyph Mngo” is right there (“No U in Us”), and “Getting It” siphons Tame Impala’s psych-rock riffage through a slick-rolling bounce purpose-made for box Chevys. But ST 2 Lettaz and Young Clova are down to earth even at their most psychedelic, putting the street level at ground level and humanizing the hustle in the tradition of Bun B and Big Boi. They’re enviable when they brag about doing shows in Europe (“Atmosphere”), believable when they pledge to overthrow their doubters (“16 Shots”) and relatable when they confess that their grind’s just as driven by a fear of failure as a need for status (“24 Eight”).
By Hua Hsu on 01.05.12 in Spotlights
Thumb-tacked to the wall of my room in my parents' house is a list I printed out in the year 2000. Hiphopsite.com, an online hip-hop record store had produced a list of the 100 most anticipated releases for the upcoming...
By Wondering Sound Staff on 12.26.11 in Lists
It was a year full of surprising breakouts and breathtaking discoveries, with reliable favorites from familiar faces and strong entries from new voices. These are our Top 100 Records of 2011.
By Kevin O'Donnell on 12.21.11 in Reviews
Shock-rappers Odd Future may have been the hip-hop rookies of the year, but this fiercely independent Southern duo were the year's secret MVPs. The One...Cohesive is classic Southern hip-hop in many respects, from ST 2 L...
By Robert Ham on 02.25.15 in Features
From Shania Twain to Patrick Wolf, these musicians couldn't leave well enough alone and rerecorded their work.