Smoov-E

Breakdance: Bring Back the Music from the 1980's

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The album art of Smoov-E's Breakdance: Bring Back the Music from the 1980's gives every indication of a corny satire, but if you can look past the campy retro fashion, it only takes a few bars of "Computer Rhythm" to realize that Smoov-E puts painstaking effort into his craft, starting with a spot-on re-creation of electro-funk from the early '80s in the spirit of Cybotron and Afrika Bambaataa, complete with robot vocals, vintage analog synths, and drum machines of the era. Lyrically, Smoov-E stays with the times too, keeping his rhymes slow and steady, with raps about the styles of the breakers and freaks on the streets, circa the good ol' days of Electric Boogaloo ("Cream leather jacket/Lasonic boombox/Pants pegged up/Red high-tops/Keychain necklace/Fresh Reeboks/White bandana/Mickey Mouse watch"). "Who Is the MC" switches gears into a scratch-heavy, disco-influenced beat akin to Kurtis Blow or Sugarhill Gang as he bangs to the boogidy beat, with braggadocious rhymes about putting rappers to the test and pleasing the fly ladies. Where other retro-minded electro-rap artists like James Pants try to push the sounds of the old in modern directions, Smoov-E is completely comfortable living in the past. That said, the fun he's having is infectious and this outing is so authentic-sounding that you could put several songs on a mix (on cassette, obviously) alongside the awesome Street Jams: Electric Funk series and no one would know otherwise. This is especially true for "Breakdance," which features a guest appearance by the legendary Egyptian Lover.

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