Stand Up

Artist: Superiority ComplexTitle: Stand UpRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Jessica Dufresne

Every now and then in the cluttered jungle of rap, an album comes along that stands out not so much because of its greatness, but because of its individuality. Stand Up> (BRU Records) by Superiority Complex is one of those. This under-the-radar trio hails from the unlikely city of Little Rock, Arkansas, but you wouldn't think so judging from the product. MCs Iron Monk and Poisoned Fetus do producer Blackology's jazzy and diversely sampled beats justice with witty rhymes and clever punchlines. And, once you get past his name, you'll observe that Poisoned Fetus (it's an acronym) is pretty nice lyrically.

On the aptly titled first song, "Intro", Fetus asserts that the group's bold name is based on truth and he and Iron Monk proceed with back-and-forth verses, which over the jazzy loop and hypnotic beat make for a good example of why they have that complex. The title track is a more up-tempo introduction to the group with Poisoned Fetus proclaiming, "I do laps around acts/Until my lungs collapse/Essential to the game like cards to spades/And dice to craps/The last straw to make people quit rap."

"Bats" is a creatively produced track that switches up to a different beat after the first verse only to go back to the previous one, and then ends with the sample it was taken from. That technique is also on the album's hardest song, "Deathwish", whose dramatic guitar riff you find out at the end is from none other than an old Phil Collins tune (now how often does a Genesis track get flipped for a rap song?). Also noteworthy is the smooth "Butter", an inspired ode to the A Tribe Called Quest classic.

Even though it could do without the interludes, which are amusing but too long and unnecessary, the laidback Stand Up deserves a chance to be heard because it's a nice and calm diversion from the usual stuff.