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Magna Carda, PacBoiTank, Clemits, and Muggzy Flowz

Reviewed by Chase Hoffberger, Fri., Jan. 31, 2014

Those lamenting a dearth of female MCs around town need look no further than Magna Carda's Megz Kelli, who lights up Van Geaux mixtape with quick-witted flows evoking Jean Grae and Stasia Irons. Her band, led by keyboardist Chris Beale and the Chronicle's Derek Van Wagner on bass, keeps pace, unfolding a slow piano melody ("Geaux") before doing the same on guitar ("More Than 99"). Best comes midway through Van Geaux on "Break," when Kelli gets poetic with a sample of Janet Jackson's "I Get Lonely." Similar heights are reached on LNS Crew member PacBoiTank's "Getting My Thoughts Together," the Scott Pace-produced hit on October's rugged 6 Shots EP. Claiming, "I do it for the town even though they hating on my sound," Tank embodies a more hardcore style than his affiliates Cory Kendrix and Kydd Jones, who shows up on the title cut, and "Leaders Life Forever," which evokes Kydd's "Jungle." Such soul hints at Clemits' Oh, Dear, via the K.O.B.-featured "They Don't Love You," but the seven-song set falls flat on the rapper's staggered, tepid flow ("Rare," "Ghosts"), not to mention opener "No Nostalgia," which sounds like it was recorded on a Fisher-Price mixing board. Same goes for Muggzy Flowz and The Wallaby EP's "Get This Dough Mayne," though the young Phranchyze affliate does offer promise, notably on the subtly bizarre "HeadStrong" and equally strange "Hip-Hop Head."

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