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Blood and Ashes

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Album Review

Baby Grande is undoubtedly the quickest moving indie hip-hop label of 2004, dropping records by everyone from Golden Era classics Brand Nubian to underground femme fatale Jean Grae and frontline political assassin Immortal Technique, all in less than 12 months. Along with less standout releases like Sharkey's Machine and -ready 7L & Esoteric and Outerspace mentors Jedi Mind Tricks, this release seems to have simply been swept up in the movement of the crowd rather than standing out on its own. That is not to say the MCs Planetary and Crypt the Warchild lack in skills. On the contrary, the childhood friends are near flawless in their Latino-tinged delivery. But they might be so tight in their flow that nothing really stands out between the two. Producers 7L, Shuko and Celph Titled (who also drops guest rhymes along with Nubian Sadat X and Jedi Vinnie Paz) craft beats heavy in dark and dramatic strings, although they can occasionally fall into movie soundtrack parody. Only the closer, "Angels of Death," cuts to the bone, and that is because of guest Immortal Technique providing his revolutionary fierce international-politico rhymes. The rest of the hard-life verses on this album pale in comparison.


Formed: Philadelphia, PA

Genre: House

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Often mistaken for some spacy, weird rap group, Outerspace has made it a mission to reinvigorate Philadelphia's underground hip-hop scene, laying down tracks of hardcore rhymes and beats. The duo's close affiliation with one of the scene's staples, Jedi Mind Tricks, has created the ideal platform to carry out such a task. Both growing up in the streets of north Philly, Crypt the Warchild and Planetary have been the best of friends since childhood. In fact, their families knew each other before they...
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