Wild Style Wednesday Review: CunninLynguists, Southernunderground

southernunderground Before hearing this album, my view of Southern Hip-Hop was grossly grim(except for Little Brother). I had been hearing the same shit over and over again with Three Six Mafia and Lil’ Jon all the time, and frankly I was getting sick of it. Kno, Deacon & SOS are what you would call a boisterous breath of fresh air for the lungs of southern Hip-Hop. One of my best friends had been telling me about these guys for a long time, and my attitude towards Southern Hip-Hop stopped me from listening to them for awhile. After I started listening to this album I couldn’t believe what I had been overly oblivious to for so long, these guys are incredible.

The first thing I want to point out is that Kno is an incredible producer with a style that is unmatched. The sound that his beats bare are almost melancholy madness. I’ve fallen in love with his style of production ever since I started listening to CunninLynguists, and I think he brings a very raw yet incredible sound to Southern production. What impresses me more though, is that Kno is just as good on the microphone as he is on the boards. Stepping up to the same level as Deacon & SOS is no easy task, especially when you are making the beats as well.

Southernunderground” is the first track (which is produced by Domingo) and Deacon describes Cunnin’ in one quick breath, “We back for another round/Southerunderground/we ain’t following that traditional cookie cutter sound”, and SOS follows suit, “Other clowns suck worse than funnel clouds/one verse and your lungs are drowned with much dirt and rubble now”. The whole tone of the album is set by this one song alone. The song “Old School” is a track that will make you laugh harder than anything you will ever hear with all of the emcees shooting punchlines like an assault rifle. Deacon spits, “Before R. Kelly had his teens/Wu-tang had their cream/Slick Rick had his rings/crack rock had it’s fiends”, Kno really shines, “I caught a ride on Noah’s ark/ cus I had a pair of Puma’s and two chickens on my arm” and “I had Michelangelo put down the horsehair brushes/started doing end to end burners on buses”. Kno’s beat on “Old School” is amazing and it’s overly omniscient of cartoon background music.

I usually have a paragraph in my reviews dedicated to what I think is the standout track on the album at hand. The one track that isn’t produced by Kno is “Seasons“, which was carefully crafted by none other than Rjd2 and features one of my favorite emcees Masta Ace. All 4 emcees use allusion, similes and metaphors to go through the “Seasons” of Hip-Hop as if it was just like the earth we live on. “Seasons” is one of the most brilliantly beautiful tracks that I have had the privilege of hearing, in my eyes it will always be a classic. I remember that Pitchfork very harshly critiqued this track, “… it makes Rjd2’s contribution “Seasons” sound lazy and heartless”, and not being able to understand what they were talking about.

Incredible production mixed with lyrics that are just as great is a recipe for a quick classic any way that you look at it. This album saved my perception of Southern Hip-Hop, and it is truly an album that should be heard by everyone. I regret sleeping on this album for as long as I did, at this point it’s pretty much on constant rotation.



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