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Terrain to Roam

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Album Review

For his second full-length record, Terrain to Roam, L.A. rapper Subtitle decided to use other producers' beats instead of his own (he had already shown those off on his debut, Young Dangerous Heart), which ends up working pretty well for him, encouraging him to stretch his lyric and delivery styles and to explore new territory. The album still has the general dark-hollow-drum feel of Young Dangerous Heart, but there's a playfulness heard here that was missing on his first release. Subtitle's still acutely socially aware and unafraid to criticize when necessary (the American Medical Association's a target on "Pill Pop"), but he's also unafraid to make fun of himself and even the hip-hop he loves. "Write Is Wrong," produced by Nobody, is about as close to a dance track as any backpacker would ever get, with its sparse, fractured hyphy-esque beat and hook ("Before I go to jail I'm going to party like I'm crazy/Before I go to the DMV I'll party like I'm crazy/Before I visit grandma, I'll party like I'm crazy/Write makes wrong so I'll party like I'm crazy") and the Small Is Beautiful-produced "Dance Invite #1" samples and loops complex handclaps and a melancholy guitar as Subtitle raps, in his nerdy, quasi-talking way, "Call you up, you're my kind of girl, even if you are me-chan-i-cal." There's no topic he seems unwilling to broach, explaining the beat-making process over the noisy electronic drums of "Restructure/Reroute" (featuring Lab Waste partner Thavius Beck and produced by Daddy Kev), telling about his tough, problematic childhood (something he generally avoids) on "About the Author," playing the detective on guitar-heavy "Seventies Western Crime Scene, Pt. 1" and "Pt. 2," where he uses his nasally voice and fast-talking (as opposed to a more aggressive spitting) style to describe and explain and question. Subtitle's fun but he's also intelligent and imaginative and even provocative, and he doesn't sound much like other MCs out there. But this doesn't make him come across as condescending or overbearing; instead, Terrain to Roam is a creative, interesting, and accessible album, an excellent piece of work from one of the underground's most exciting and unique artists.

Customer Reviews




This record is Heavy....I can't get enough..maad ill producers on this joint.....especially track 8 by that brooklyn cat Crunc Tesla.

Great artist with a unique style

My friends first heard about Subtitle aka Giovanni Marks at a club in LA. They got one of his albums (young dangerous heart) and let me listen to it. Subtitles music is Cool and very unique. if you are a fan of Del or Dr octagon you will dig on Subtitles music. try listening to "pill pop","surrealist life" and "s is for summer"

the entire album is awesome.


Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active:

Born Giovanni Marks, Subtitle spent the early years of his life in L.A.'s tough Compton and Lynwood neighborhoods. When he was 14, he moved north to Camarillo, attending school in nearby Oxnard (where Madlib and other members of Lootpack hailed from), and soon he started writing rhymes, digging, and trying to educate himself as much as possible on West Coast underground hip-hop. After he moved to Los Angeles, his brother took him to the famed Project Blowed workshop, and in 1997 he and his crew,...
Full Bio

Top Albums and Songs by Subtitle

Terrain to Roam, Subtitle
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Customer Ratings

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