Cella Dwellas

Realms 'N Reality

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Before the 1996 release of the full-length album Realms and Reality, Flatbush, Brooklyn artists the Cella Dwellas toiled underground surfacing in early 1995 on a Masta Ace B-side titled "For the Mind." The Dwellas' underground respect created enough of a stir to get them signed to Loud Records; a sneak preview single, "Land of The Lost," showed up soon after on a Loud Records sampler. Realms and Reality is replete with the CD's unique mix of sorcery and gangsta-ism. The Dwellas consist of Phantasm the Tall Man, an esoteric, edgy MC; and Ug the Imagination, a rough-and-rugged lyricist who is also unpredictably clever. The opening cut on the album "Advance to Boardwalk," a conceptual trip around the Monopoly game board, introduces the listener to the Dwellas' wizardry. There are two different styles that the duo employ on the album: fantasia bordering on horror-core and straight-up hardcore hip-hop. Tracks like "Mystic Freestyle," "Realm Three" and "Cella Dwellas" sound straight out of a fantasy role-playing game while cuts like "Hold U Down," "Good Dwellas" and "Medina Style" are devastatingly banging. "Medina Style" may best represent the core of the Dwellas: a melodic yet rough groove with the CD's dropping vicious call-and-response rhymes over it. Cella Dwellas' music is hypnotic and other-worldly. Production, mainly by Nick Wiz, DJ Slice and Megahurtz is eclectic, gritty but also slick. Realms and Reality is a bizarre trip through the minds of Ug and Phantasm. The duo's lyrical content may be based on hallucinations and magic but their precision and articulation on the mic make this album accessible and exciting.

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