Dem Franchize Boyz

Dem Franchize Boyz

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Dem Franchize Boyz describe their music as "laid-back crunk." While this could seem a bit redundant, as crunk can be quite hazy music, the four rappers from (where else?) Atlanta steal a bit of a page from the slow, "screwed-up" Houston acts, backing up their claim with lazy abandon on their self-titled debut. From their opening declaration, "Where I'm From," the beats are sparse, understated, and undeniably absorbing, as simple and comfortable as the white T-shirts which are the trademark of the Boyz. The virtues of said garment are extolled on the foursome's single, "White Tee," a track boasting a sinister keyboard straight out of a 1980s horror movie.

Dem Franchize Boyz's lyrics fit with the straightforward nature of the beats, sticking to familiar topics of cars, brotherhood, girls, etc. However, these subjects are addressed in a manner just one step to the left of other hip-hop acts; for example, while many rappers turn to basketball as an inspirational source, few would name-check the legendary Sudanese player Manute Bol, but Dem Franchize Boyz do. That's the spirit of the group's debut, a self-produced album featuring no celebrity guest-stars that, nevertheless, hangs with the big boys of rap.

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