Field Mob

From tha Roota to tha Toota

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Some music critics have observed that if rap is "the CNN of the streets" (to borrow a phrase coined by Public Enemy leader Chuck D), country is "the CNN of the suburbs." Historically, hip-hoppers have tended to address urban inner-city concerns, whereas country singers have often focused on things that people in suburbia and small towns can relate to. But here's the thing: plenty of people in large cities listen to Patty Loveless and Randy Travis, and plenty of hip-hop heads live in small and medium-sized towns. So it was inevitable that a Southern rap group like Albany, GA's Field Mob would end up bringing a more rural perspective to hip-hop -- well, rural up to a point. Field Mob's Boondox Blax has described Albany as being "like a metropolitan area, but it's rural at the same time" -- and that rural/metropolitan blend makes for many interesting moments on the duo's second album, From tha Roota to tha Toota. Hip-hop heads from the Boogie Down Bronx or West Philadelphia will no doubt find this CD to be extremely southern-sounding, which is a good thing because southern-sounding is exactly what Field Mob is going for. At the same time, Boondox and his partner, Kalage, rap about many of the same social problems that northern MCs rap about -- poverty, drugs, and incarceration are among the topics that they address. But even though the subject matter isn't radically different from what you might hear on a northern (or West Coast) rap project, Field Mob's beats and flows give their work a certain freshness. Field Mob's beats never sound generic, and the southerners don't go out of their way to emulate popular MCs from other parts of Georgia. All things considered, From tha Roota to tha Toota is among the more memorable Dirty South efforts of 2002.

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