East 35 (Opera House)
Reviewed by Chase Hoffberger, Fri., April 4, 2014
Brawlers tend to band best with a brother. Think UGK, MOP, or closer to home, Crew54, those aggressive soul purveyors who hail from Killeen. The Austin Eastside tandem of Young Gift and Big John ebb closer to the gruff Memphis hustle of 8Ball & MJG than their other tag-teaming brethren. On their eponymous third album, polished follow-up to 2011's lowish-fi Soul, Sin and Swishers, the two employ Street Educated Productions' tandem of AC and Igor da Bosnian for nine of 11 tracks that fuse Southern trap with Texas soul ("Put It on Me"). The latter spins most evident on the Lowkey-assisted "Take Me Back to Texas," the finest local ode to the Lone Star State since Kydd Jones' "Texas Heat." The former flows en masse from the cash, clips, and ill-derived commerce concerning "I'ma Trap" through T-Mo's orchestral strikes on "Look at It." No surprise that the two styles wed fully on the Swishahouse styling "Listen to the Screw," a slow and sweaty ode to the H-Town godfather that posted just in time for summer.