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by Tim Stroh
1 January, 2002@12:00 am
0 comments

After releasing two successful singles “The Powers of Nine Ether” and “Metaphysics” on Bobbito’s Fondle Em Records, a European Tour, several side projects, and their debut full length Coming Forth By Day: The Book of the Dead, the Scienz of Life crew returns with their sophomore effort Project: Overground: The Scienz Experiment on Subverse.

After first listening to Project Overground, many may notice their unmistakable similarity to fellow New Yorkers the Bush Babees (which of course isn’t an altogether bad thing). The comparison is most easily drawn after listening to such tracks as “Original Rap”, which features a bouncy (but bland) beat with the crew rapping about the evils of today’s hip-hop music. Unfortunately the songs cliche subject matter and the ironically unoriginal hook of “what ever happened to original rap/what ever happened to original rap songs?” sinks this otherwise decent track.

What is perhaps the biggest flaw of the album is just how similar all of the beats sound. A good example is how, with the help of a slightly different drum track and a few random samples, the beat for “Ancient Rituals II (Ain’t Nuttin)” seems to be the beat for “Alphabet Soup” in disguise.

Not surprisingly, it’s those tracks that do not sound so much the same that stand out and ultimately serve as the album’s high points. “Scienz Of Life (Metaphysics 2030)” features ID4 , Lil Sci, and Inspector Willabee coming nice over a laid-back but tight piano sample, making it easily the best track on Project Overground. Not too far behind is “Anthology: A Tribute to Music”, which is a perfectly executed tribute to the music that has inspired the crew throughout their lives.

While Scienz of Life may not be the most clever group of emcees, the group has no problem with writing songs that perfectly suit their production, which gives them their distinct jazzy soul vibe. Project Overground is a somewhat solid album with a couple tracks worthy of heavy rotation, and several others that you may swear you just heard on the track before.

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