Outsidaz

The Bricks

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    6
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Some of New Jersey's finest hardcore lyricists make up this underground unit known as the Outsidaz (Young Zee, Pace Won, Az Iz, Slang Ton, et al.). Members of the Outs gained some notoriety in 1996 after dropping verses for the track "Cowboys" on the Fugees' breakthrough album The Score. The crew went on to release the under-noticed EP Night Life in 2000. The posse's outlandish frontman, Young Zee, has the kind of voice and brash wit that can light up a record, and The Bricks definitely contains its share of flammable material. While many underground records warble and drone on account of dull, amateurish production, The Bricks economizes with swift Jersey-laced funk and multi-layered noise. The textured musical component is anomalous for the style as most thug/battle MCs often stick to stripped beats. Mega-producer Rockwilder, who long since went the way of producing made-for-MTV tracks (including the hideous "Moulin Rouge," for example) manages to bring back a little green funk for "Keep On," but the rest of the beats truly scald the skin like a pit full of hot coals. DJ Twinz drops a funkadelic banger for "Who You Be," which features rap's version of Simon and Simon, Method Man, and Redman. Also, tracks like the fluttering, flute-powered "State to State" and the drug hijinx track "Rehab" are further clever postulations from these raw-dog hip-hoppers. While the Outs serve notice to their reputation for lyrical savagery throughout, in the end the album bogs down a bit after the crew seemingly runs out of ways to do tracks about afterparties, drugs, and punk-MC bullying. This type of release could never truly shake up the rap game, but it does supersede a large majority of modern rap records and even calls to mind some of the better efforts from years past.

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