Zeale, COD, Choszen, and K.J. Hines
Reviewed by Chase Hoffberger, Fri., Feb. 27, 2009
The future is now for Austin hip-hop, and it's obvious on Zeale's new mixtape, Haterz and Robotz, the local MC's most complete collection to date. Boosted by the masterful precision of DJ Rapid Ric, the slick-talking Zeale raps his way through an even mix of originals and sampled cuts, all heavy on the "Retrozpect." Team Zeale/Phranchyze staples – custom shoes and clever shoot-downs – remain intact ("Brand New," "Undefined Tranzmizzion"), but Haterz soars on heartfelt tributes ("Rain") and a captivating Pink Floyd mix-up splitting the "Dull Dayz." South Austin's COD shows no fear breaking out of the "Citylimits," pulling tracks inspired by 9th Wonder's camp ("Let's Go") and the dirty dirty ("Wheel Spin") on this month's Ova the Stove, Volume 3 street release. Beats are only half the story on this diverse collection, which finds COD's four rhyme slingers one-upping one another on the epic "No Mo." Lamenting it's "time for George Bush to step aside," Choszen's Welcome to the Greene Party (Sixth Street Music) sets itself apart as politically conscious rap that can still get crunk on "Sixth Street." Lyrics about bipartisan corruption lose weight beside "I'm lovin' the way that you move" hooks, making Greene Party a better fit for Esther's Follies than Emo's. Pflugerville's K.J. Hines keeps it all business on the re-release of 2006's Capital City, out this round on Dap Records. The 18-year-old cuts it slow on "Dirty Place" but not before taking control of lead track "I Own This." Do as he says: "Move With It."