The Black Larry Bird
Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., July 16, 2010
PhranchyzeThe Black Larry Bird
The stereotype's nearly as old as hip-hop: battle MCs can't cut proper studio albums. A veteran of both Grind Time and the World Rap Championships, Phranchyze is first and foremost a battle rapper, but as the intro to The Black Larry Bird professes, the 26-year-old local rhymesayer also has "the passion of the underdog, the purity of tradition, and a vision that was his alone." Phran's follow-up to last year's Errybody Hates Me!! is a solid, well-rounded affair, with something for radio ("Dolo"), the "Black Haired Girls," and only one freestyle ("Popeye Jones"), laced with go-go Gadget comedic wizardry and impeccable production from Blacksmith Beats. Gary Clark Jr. helps take the Swisher sweetness of "Doja Sacks" higher than the VIP booth at Antone's, while "Eva Angelina" chronicles a Peeping Tom's desperate attempts to put a ring on it. There's an oft-overlooked seriousness to Phranchyze, though, and the slam-poet honesty of "Never Be" and "Blood" cracks pipes like early Sage Francis.