If you’re like me, you’ve had a gaping hole in your musical world since the break-up of Goodie Mob and the slow decay of Outkast (proving that it is better to burn-out quick than slowly fade away). I offer you Kentucky’s own, Cunninlynguists. In January, with A Piece of Strange, Cunninlynguists ended the battle for hip-hop album of the year before it really even began. So, while all the jerk-offs are gonna throw up Ghostface and Jay-Z in their year end lists over the next few weeks, I beg you to acquire A Piece of Strange by whatever means you choose, and see for yourself who’s kung-fu reins supreme.
Kno’s production is once again at the forefront of Cunninlynguist’s sound. With opening track “Since When” CL lays down the gauntlet, and with tracks like “America Loves Gangsters”, “Nothing to Give”, “Caved In” and “Beautiful Girl” CL shows that they’re the new kings of the SouthernUnderground…only problem, muthafuckers ain’t hearin’ ’em. Whole god damned world talks about bullshit like Fitty, and Lloyd Banks, and fucking Mike Jones, and whatever other fucking pop-rapper is spelling a tennis shoe brand on Clear Channel instead of looking past the spoon in their face….but, I am getting off on a tangent, back to Cunninlynguists.
Cunninlynguists is Kno and Deacon the Villan. Over the years they have released 3 albums: Will Rap For Food, SouthernUnderground, and A Piece of Strange. Along the way they have released a collection of mix-tape type releases. Mr. SOS was part of Cunninlynguists up until A.P.O.S., but has since gone his own way and should have a cd coming out in early 2007. With A Piece of Strange CL has shown a tremendous amount of growth. The tell-tale CL sound is present with the laid-back almost melancholy beats complete with pianos and pitch-shifted female vocal samples getting tighter with every album. Also, CL introduces a long list of instruments, from guitars to flutes, not commonly associated with hip-hop helping to set them apart. Continuing to prove Kno is deserving of the praise “The best loop-miner east of the Mississippi” and “Today’s best beat-maker” bestowed by many in the hip-hop community. Deacon’s lyrical abilities are as tight as ever…as the band ages, gone is the bulk of silliness that dominated early CL efforts and in it’s place is a pen as honed and sharp as there is in hip-hop.
So, as 2006 comes to a close I demand you check out this band and their latest release…even if you are just a fringe fan of hip-hop. Great production, great beats and intelligent lyrics. Thinking music for a thinking audience.
While you are at it check out QN5’s awesome blog!