New Music: Friday Roll Out! with Meyhem Lauren & DJ Muggs and Smut

Clapping back on another Friday. It’s been a week of work, work, and more work. But it didn’t break me. I don’t subscribe to the train of thought that “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger;” just do what you need to do and you’ll never have to rely on anyone else for anything. One thing that I realize people always seem to do is become complacent in just about every situation they’re in. I can’t say that I’ve never been a victim of doing the same but growing as an individual, your mindset tends to change as mine has. Be up for the task, whether it’s physical or mental. Change always helps with growth. So now I find myself doing that right now. I’m not fond of certain comparisons or being pigeonholed because it’s cheap. Although, sometimes it may be a necessity.

As new music appears in front of me I’m hard pressed to dissect Smut’s new release, End Of Sam-Soon (Broken Circles.) Initially, everything received with this release has the mention of all but forgotten genres of “shoegaze” or “dream-pop,” so I wasn’t sure if categorizing the band, as I’m sure some probably have, and lumping them into genres filled defunct 90’s acts was appropriate or at all fair. While the Cincinnati, OH quartet plays with sonics on the new album, they tend to stray away from being, or becoming, just a one-trick pony. The quintet, led by Tay Roebuck’s enchanting vocals, have captured a number of stylistic differences that have surfaced throughout the years, blended them, and have made a sound all its own. Sure there are moments you may reminisce back to groups that are leaned on heavily and the influences are unmistakable but this is more of a Frankensteinian effect. “Rosewater” plays with dissonance but it’s ever so slight as the band never relinquishes the melody from the song. Guitars volley back and forth, occasionally against on another while the rhythm is always driving. “Bones Of Summer” is just bouncy good fun with a wall of guitar sound that’s always present and “Blush,” is more artsy, opening with spoken vocals before it explodes into the punk anthemic beast that it is. But this is what they are, a punk band. “Shuteye” plays a little more with dynamics and nothing is done forcefully, but it’s as if everything occurs natural, like osmosis. My only problem with Smut’s End Of Sam-Soon is probably its length. At just 8-tracks the album ends much too soon. As soon as you’re ready for more, it ends. But the songs are well thought out, catchy as fuck and leaves you guessing. Less is more? No, just give me more.

 

People may not know at first glance but reputations still precede them. Meyhem Lauren is a rapper from Queens, NY who knows how to get gritty. For Gems From The Equinox (Soul Assassins), he’s partnered with DJ Muggs. Yes, DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill / House Of Pain fame. Worlds collide on this release which has Muggs’ fervent beats rattling under Meyhem’s powerful vocals as this bi-coastal relationship moves in full effect. The album is peppered with street cultured skits, which is reflective of the album itself, as Meyhem Lauren’s lyricism is full of braggadocio but his delivery backs it all up. The opening “Camel Crush” is unrelenting, pulled forward by Mugg’s deep bass heavy sound here. Of course on the album you’ll find guest appearances like Roc Marciano’s on “Street Religion” but it’s nothing more than a side-note there. Roc accentuates Meyhem and keyboard drops here. Gems never lets up, from beginning to end, every single beat is as captivating as Meyhem’s delivery. The beat of “Shea Stadium (feat. Action Bronson)” storms slowly across deserted streets, while “Hashashin (feat. Conway)” has a 90’s grind that screams city life. But it’s the watery “Aquatic Violence (feat. Mr. Muthafuckin Exquire and Sean Price)” that’s bound to be a sheer classic while “Redrum,” with its warmer beat drop showcases Meyhem Lauren’s storytelling skills, his words full of imagination and clarity. No matter what direction Meyhem and Muggs move in, they obviously find comfort at whichever speed they’re moving in. “Tension,” with its underlying wave of staticky noise, once again features Action Bronson but the track is accentuated by Cypress Hill’s B-Real. The three rappers bounce along on the track, never allowing a loose breath to play without meaning. Closing it all out both Meyhem and Muggs take it back to basics. For “151” Muggs brings the ‘get high’ vibe here and Meyhem complements the track with his boisterous delivery. Gems From The Equinox has razor sharp diamonds throughout the album that was surely created to fuck up everyone’s concept of what Hip-Hop is supposed to sound like today. Yeah, this is what it’s supposed to be.

 

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