Lifesavas, Spirit in Stone

Douglas Wolk

By Douglas Wolk

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Mid-’00s rap treats from the Pacific Northwest.

Portland, Oregon, isn't exactly famous for its hip-hop scene, but we do have one top-notch crew, the Lifesavas team of Vursatyl, Rev. Shines and Jumbo the Garbageman. They've toured with Blackalicious, and their own 2003 debut album could pass for a lost gem from 1992: funky cut-ups that tweeze their grooves from deep in the crates (and not just the "funk" crates), and hot-potato rhyme-swapping that's as much about exploring themes as verbal pyrotechnics. De La Soul is a big reference point here — "Hellohihey" is an smartass update of De La's "Ring Ring Ring" — but Vursatyl, fittingly, reinvents his style and voice track by track.