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by
1 January, 2001@12:00 am
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 The Pittsburgh to Cincinnati duo of J. Rawls and J. Sands are Hip-Hop personified, from Sands off-beat lyrical sidestep to Rawls sublime musical subtleties, the two have risen above the blase’ marketeers to become a respectable pair for 2001 and beyond. The Lone Catalysts’ sound isn’t abrasive or mind-altering, rather it’s subdued, with a producer/emcee relationship reminiscent Premier   and Guru on Step Into The Arena. With the independently released (Groove Attack version on deck) Hip-Hop, Rawls and Sands present an unwavering character true and unique to each of their songs.

Hip-Hop tracks in at 15 joints, running with the ball as much of their previously released material has, and for those that missed out on the singles, they’ve included a hefty bonus selection of 6 additional tracks from the past years. Whether you need some casual background bumps or a walkman companion, Hip-Hop takes care of business. From the uppity anthem “Place to Be” to the melodious title track, quality exudes. Even their less boom-bap oriented works like “Xtinction” and “Politix” prove successful. Yet it’s the highly rotated “Due Process” that may garner the most spins, joining longtime associate Talib Kweli along with newcomer Rubix, epitomizing the formula that is the Lone Cat sound.

With an already impressive catalog of material from both Rawls and Sands together, (not to mention on the side) this is only the beginning of the slow bullet the Lone Catalysts have bucked at the Hip-Hop industry. Simple, to the point, Hip-Hop.

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