The Austin Chronicle

Beat Box

Reviewed by Christopher Gray, September 29, 2000, Music

Fall is harvest time, and Texas' fertile hip-hop fields have yielded a right fine crop of releases. Soundscape has been ripening in local record stores since this spring, but this three-song, vinyl-only 12-inch has hardly withered. Fresh as the day the wax was peeled, Bavu and DJ Nick Nack's brainchild has a thick, tight sound that CDs just can't match, and a lava-lamp basement vibe that adds a touch of coffeehouse poetry to Bavu's intelligent verbalizing. "Truth," his microphone battle of the sexes with Poetree, is an especially agile take on what French B-boys call la difference... Bavu does double duty on Tee Double's second CD, TX Resident, dropping in to trade verses with his fellow Hip Hop Humpday MC about the peculiar relationship between music and relationships on the thought-provoking "Fade It Out." Tee Double produced and released TX Resident himself, and his abundant initiative bleeds over into the rhymes, whether on the party-up "Feelinitnow" or thoughtful consideration of the playa-hating phenomenon "Calculated." Tee's conversational flow fits well with the jazzy, organic beats, and he enjoys sparring with guests Tray God, Garyson, Mirage, and Aussie sheila Maya Jupiter... The self-titled CD from Austin's Arctectonics (Style & Grace) stakes out quite a bit of territory over its 17 tracks, from dub to spoken word, and the result is a difficult, albeit rewarding, listen. Treading the razor-thin line between RZAian creepshow backdrops, straight-up thuggin' styles (including succulent blues), and the truly arcane verbology of cuts like "Figment of Amalgamation" is quite an undertaking, but since when is ambition a crime in hip-hop?... Big Moe's big ambition seems to be downing as much syrup as he can, so at least he shouldn't have to worry about catching a cold. The way his CD City of Syrup (Wreckshop) is flying off the shelves at MusicMania, this Houston "Barre baby" can probably afford all the 'tussin he can handle. Credit the deep-throated, musical production and Moe's molasses-thick baller drawl... Finally, this all-Texas "Beat Box" would be incomplete without a shout to recent MTV Award winners Destiny's Child. Anyone who isn't feelin' the H-Town divas' multiplatinum The Writing's on the Wall (Columbia) by now should report to their local Parks & Rec department for severe lack of game. And if you Austin MCs and DJs think you got game, prove it by sending your CDs, tapes, and even vinyl to PO Box 49066, Austin, TX, 78765, and we'll see. Smell y'all later...

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