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The 3-man tag-team triumvirate of Chops, Peril-L, and Styles Infinite gained national notoriety after winning Sprite’s “Rhymes From The Mind” contest back in 1996. But many heads in the know had already been checkin’ for the MB’s after their 1996 independent EP surfaced. The buzz only heightened with their subsequent signing with Ruffhouse and stellar singles “Paperchase”, and “5 Elements”. Like any upcoming group, they have experienced their fair share of growing pains. After getting the run around from Ruffhouse they decided to go for delf and continued to diligently pursue their dreams. Reppin’ illadelph to the fullest, they’re jazzy, laid back, live instrumentated sound will undoubtedly be compared to The Roots  (Grand Negaz.) However, they should not be labeled as they come extra original, carving out their own unique place in the city of brotherly love.

In a classic example of less is more, Chops cleverly weaves synthesizers, horns, and tingling plush keyboard melodies, bringing the producer back to the forefront. Samples are non-existent as they stretch musical boundaries, bringing the antidote for those of us who have had it up to here with today’s stagnant hip-hop atmosphere. Musically, this trio is all about bringing the glory days of hip-hop full circle, as they reach out to the purist of B-Boys & B-Girls of the world. One of their most appealing features, is that they bring lyrics that are easy to identify with; coming off like some regular Joe’s with super-regular skills. In a refreshing change of pace they realize that not everyone is driving around in flashy whips, or flossing tailor-made iced-out jewelry. How lovely it is to hear some responsible lyrics, as this mature trio shows wisdom beyond their age. Firmly entrenched in reality, the MB’s spend a great deal of time discussing the daily grind all of us are subject to. From hating our day jobs, to trying to find our place as individuals in a world so pre-occupied with the almighty Benjamin (“Paperchase”), to just clowning in general (“Things To Do”.) As emcees, none of the trio will be confused as a verbal reincarnation of Rakim, but they do posses an animated dynamic chemistry uncharacteristic for a group on a freshmen debut, exemplified by the futuristic intergalactic sound of “Galaxies: The Next Level”. Chops continually ups the ante and makes things seem easy on “Ain’t Nuthin”, and your neck will surely get some exercise on the rock anthem “Whiplash”, which would make Wyclef Jean proud. Very well rounded in most aspects, the only thing keeping them from being bumped up a half a notch is the fact that their hooks are slightly malnourished and they could come more precise with their lyrics.

The MB’s refuse to be a best-kept secret and their career is definitely on the rise. This LP lays a solid foundation in which to build upon with future endeavors. If you have been sleeping, it’s time to wake up, because the Mountain Brothers have indeed arrived.

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