Artist: Little BrotherTitle: The Chitlin Circuit 1.5Rating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Conan Milne
It seems that, at least nowadays, mixtapes are rarely breathtaking releases. Minus the odd exclusive that the listener has been itching for, the mix CDs that flood the market seem oversaturated with filler. Let it be known, then, that Little Brothers latest is an exception. Essentially a mixtape project comprised of rare and unreleased cuts, as well as a few new joints, The Chitlin Circuit 1.5 (Fastlife) is a stunning release.
Opening with the standout War Phonte and Pooh trade lines over the soulful beats the group is known for, complete with tinkling bells and crooning background vocals. Phontes verse sounds typically effortless, and its no surprise that he has gained some notoriety as the groups profile has risen. However, partner in rhyme Poohs lyrics cannot be overlooked, as he refers to his music as non-perishable – my records dont expire/ Im that blue flame if we speaking on fires. To top an already brilliant track off, DJ Flash enters to impressive effect with his scratching.
Another high point, Third Party, contrasts perfectly with War. The former sounds relatively humorous (albeit in a dark way) thanks to its booming, distorted male chant and eccentric instrumental. Guest spitter Joe Scudda is a satisfactory match for Pooh, as he instructs the hangers on, dont call me mister. Call me master. Meanwhile, the current darling of Hip-Hop production and surely the next Kanye minus the rapping – 9th Wonder – is consistently strong behind the boards.
Truthfully though, its difficult to select the high points for this effort as there are far more hits than misses. Whether this is dubbed a mixtape, a lost tapes style collection, or just an underground album, it remains that The Chitlin Circuit 1.5 is an immensely satisfying fix for Hip-Hop junkies. The remixes could have been replaced with a few more fresh songs, and even the longest cuts on this mix sound too short, but both of these criticisms are simply a testament to the CDs quality. The hugely talented group continues raising expectations for their proper sophomore album, The Minstrel Show, to feverish proportions with this release. Little Brother may yet prove to be a dominant force in raps ever growing family.