Artist: Organic ThoughtsTitle: The Purest FormRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Paine
Its a refreshing breath of fresh of air when an upstart Hip-Hop act respects its lineage. While everyone might claim they do, few prove it. Organic Thought, a five deep New Jersey crew, has made an effort to make educated records for Hip-Hop purists. After one m###-single, The Purest Form is the groups debut LP. While the name might not be buzzing yet, they hail from the same label as G Rap, so mighty ears for talent do the work for you.
Theres no question that this record is heavy on content. While this group goes to great lengths to preserve Hip-Hop and its elements, they also step out further. Tracks like Everything Must Change tell interesting stories. Storytelling and content-heavy efforts arent particularly easy with larger crews. Organic Thoughts succeeds nearly every time displaying strong group chemistry, and tremendous devotion to their art. At times, tracks are too dense for the mind to swallow. Three plus active MCs (with distinct sounds) still equate to a lot of verses, and can leave the listener tired, such as on Check the Flow. The energy level may be the only other flaw in the MCs. While much of the album is clearly intended to be soothing and delightfully soft, the stronger, more insightful tracks just dont get lively enough. With what the group is saying, they miss some great opportunities to hype a crowd, except in the interludes. The two legendary guest emcees, Large Professor and Prince Poetry, absolutely rip it. Extra P gets the chance to spit his braggadocious vernacular over a slow, melodic beat that sounds so good, you might check to see if P did it himself (Illmind did). Prince Poetry makes a rare appearance reflecting on the role of hope to hardworking Hip-Hop artists. This albums lyrics are intelligent, with diverse ideas, and very accessible to a listener from any place in life.
Part of Organic Thoughts unique quality is partially creditable to the fact that they bring two great and different producers to the table. The groups DJ, Fraze delivers half of the album. At first listen, his beats are outshined by the other half, Illmind. Illmind brings a more unique and original sound to the table. His tracks have great electronic elements with impeccably programmed percussion. However with time, Fraze can be appreciated. His efforts are very middle-of-the road Hip-Hop tracks. Although his DJ skills highlight the albums sense of excitement, Frazes production is too subtle for many to appreciate. However, he really brings the most out of his minimalist classic approach to Hip-Hop.
In some ways, Organic Thoughts is the group that everybody wanted the Spooks to be. Strong male MCs are held together by the keystone female, El Gambina. This record demonstrates a deep appreciation for true Hip-Hop, with the agility to still provide listeners with something new and interesting. While at times this record might get a little too coffee house, there is enough gusto tucked in other places to make Organic Thoughts impossible to pigeon-hole. New Jerseys B-Boy Hip-Hop is back, the Arsonists must be proud.