The Austin Chronicle

Texas Platters

Reviewed by Thomas Fawcett, November 1, 2013, Music

League of Extraordinary Gz


"Everybody know it was too early," laments the onset of Austin's most anticipated rap album ever. "All I can say is, nigga, I'ma miss you forever." The late Esbe da 6th Street Bully conceived the League of Extraordinary Gz in 2010 as a conglomerate of local hip-hop crews Dred Skott, SouthBound, and Da C.O.D. Released two years and one day after his death, the group's official debut full-length follows an arsenal of mixtapes as both tribute to Esbe and a pledge to carry the torch. Opening salvo "I'm Alive" unfolds a defiant celebration of life anchored by rumbling horns from Grupo Fantasma: "We ain't supposed to make it past 25/ I'm still here, oh are you surprised?/ My brother dead, bitch, but I'm alive!" Beyond mortality, Esbe growls he's "a motherfuckin' menace" on posse cut "Barz," a verse proving LOEGz lost not only a comrade when he died from a pulmonary embolism in 2011, but a certified beast on the microphone. Esbe reappears alongside Reggie Coby (the League's RZA, if you will) on the deep Southern soul of "$4 Blues," an everyman testament to the struggle to stretch paychecks, plus "Space Kush," trading bars with Tuk da Gat on a ganja-filled intergalactic joyride. Lowkey does a ton of heavy lifting throughout, pushing weight on "Billie Jean," a furious head nod breaking down triple-beam economics. Scene godfather Bavu Blakes offers some parting wisdom on "Smile" with melted butter flow as Grupo horns splatter SpottieOttie. The real coup lands verses from and M-1 of Dead Prez on "Still Bigger," a worthy sequel to one of underground hip-hop's most iconic anthems. Put your L's in the air, ATX. #LeagueShit arrives as a local landmark.


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