Tee Double, Strange Fruit Project, and Rehash
Reviewed by Robert Gabriel, Fri., April 9, 2004
"I rep my city like an elected official," pronounces Tee Double, re-emerging from Austin's hip-hop underground with his most accomplished work yet. His 10th album over the course of a decade, The Lone Star L.P. (Mumbo Jumbo) steers clear of stereotypical expectations with the declaration, "This isn't that same old Southern image. I got my own sound, no need for us to mimic." Emphasis on sped-up vocal hooks and whispered punch lines point to Tee Double shadowing the style of Chicago's Kanye West, but it would be difficult to fault the local MC and producer of such engaging efforts as "Official" and "Changes" for simply being so damned dope. Plus, the disc's lead single, "Feel the Vibe," along with its Robbie Hardkiss remix, sounds more like a successful Young MC resurrection than anything even remotely Roc-A-Fella-related. The Strange Fruit Project out of Waco has also been catching its fair share of criticism from those who think that their marvelous sophomore effort, Soul Travelin' (Black Son), relies too heavily on the Pete Rock-Jay Dee-9th Wonder lineage of beat production. All comparisons aside, Strange Fruit's Symbolyc One not only crafts soulful instrumentals that texturally "re-create the definition of beautiful," but he also serves as the group's primary voice of authority. Along with fellow MCs Myth and MyOne, and a guest appearance by Austin's Bavu Blakes, Strange Fruit is not lying one bit when they say that their music is "gonna make you feel real good inside." Continuing the trend up the highway in Dallas, High C and Wilson of Rehash utilize a digger's mentality in the sublime breakbeat science of The Rehash Extended Player (Rehash). As the dissonant tones of their Roy Ayers tribute, "Live by the Brook Baby," segues into the cinematic David Axelrod-isms of "Gratuitous Theft in the Rain," jazz-induced hip-hop is given yet another shot in the arm from the Texas massive.