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A Windy City consortium with a backpacker sensibility, this umbrella crew is actually a record label disguised as a group. Consisting centrally of four MCs/producers — jDoubleu, Atlas, Banner, and Chauncie Gardner (whose moniker is taken from the Adamic Peter Sellers character in the movie Being There) — Frontline's goal was to challenge the status quo of the rap game. Their music sounds like the end result of living, breathing, and sleeping hip-hop for weeks on end in a basement studio. Psychological catharsis bleeds from their edgy tracks, concepts, and lyrics; their music is experimental with an emphasis on the mental. While the Detroit sound of Eminem/D12 is darkly humorous, clever, and over the top, Frontline's sound is emblematic of Chicago's deep underground: starkly serious (with some hints at humor) and primal without sacrificing complexity. Frontline seems to be more concerned with moving hip-hop back toward its essence than going platinum. The debut project from the Frontline camp, Overlooked, found an audience mostly in the Midwest in early 2001 and served as a precursor for solo albums from each of its members à la the Wu-Tang Clan. ~ M.F. DiBella, Rovi
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