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One Block Radius (Bonus Track Version)

One Block Radius

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Album Review

"Unclassifiable" is such a buzzword in the alternative hip-hop world, and while One Block Radius' self-titled effort is just that, it's not always for the right reasons. This three-man crew features Marty James and MDA from Scapegoat Wax — who were signed to the Beastie Boys' Grand Royal label — plus Z-Man from the extended Hieroglyphics crew. That's an exciting recipe for something different, but add a major label plus some production from hitmaker Happy Perez and OBR, who loose their Sublime meets Tribe Called Quest flow, and end up being pushed towards Black Eyed Peas-styled slickness. The reggae flavors explored on many of the tracks suggest they'd much prefer the Fugees but sometimes this expensive, near-perfect sound works. Take the lead-off single, "You Got Me," which comes off like the Flobots meet Akon, or the positive "Steppin' Away" which puts nylon-string guitars under James' "check yourself before you wreck yourself" lyrics. It's not all about the message as the slacker anthem "Screwin' It Up" gives alt-hip-hop its "What I Got" while the ridiculous "Choc-O-Lot" combines dancehall sounds, Digital Underground attitude, and an electro beat. Sounds delicious, and while it is in tiny bites, this self-titled album never sorts its divergent sounds in any sensible manner, and the band's maverick attitude always seems at odds with the pristine production. Even if it falls short, One Block Radius is an interesting miss refreshingly free of "get money" attitude and T-Pain cameos. [One Block Radius was also made available in a clean version with all explicit material removed.]

Customer Reviews

Cali Gold (Chico Stand Up!)

First off, One Block Radius is awesome. These guys are really talented and have a unique sound and personality that's worth hearing. This album is really good, almost every track is radio worthy. On the other hand I feel like the radio/ club sound that they're going for, while done really well, gets a little repetitive as the album goes on. Each song is stand alone good, but I guess I'm not as much of a fan of the Akon-type club sound as a lot of people. I hate to sound like the old fan talking about how great a band used to be but honestly I like the old raw, personality filled OBR more. This one can seem a little overproduced. Again though, I like this album! I think you should buy it if you don't have it. I like the funk infusion and old school sound that are worked into the production. Marty James is pop gold. Z-man owns every track he's on. One of the coolest rappers out there. Overall, good album. Give it a listen.

hands down the best group out

the best blend of old school and new school hiphop, r&b and rock. They have their own sound that cant be duplicated. A must for any house party

z-man is the man

z-man and his crue are back again and killin it

Biography

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '00s

One Block Radius is an alternative rap trio from California who paid their dues for several years before making their major-label debut in 2008. Comprised of Marty James (a singer, songwriter, and producer from Chico, CA), Z-Man (a rapper from San Francisco, born Zamon Christian), and MDA (a DJ and graphic artist born in Indiana), the group cites a diversity of influences including the Pharcyde and De la Soul as well as Sublime and Hall & Oates. The group members began their musical careers individually....
Full Bio
One Block Radius (Bonus Track Version), One Block Radius
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