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16 February, 2003@12:00 am

It’s been almost 4 years since the Mountain Brothers put out their incredibly nice debut Self Vol. 1. In the meantime, Chops has been making the round producing tracks for just about everyone and prepping his own solo debut for Vocab Records. While the jazzy, smooth tribe-like sounds have been the signature for Mountain Brothers in the past, it looks like in the present they’ve decided to bring it a little more hardcore—instead of the well tuned keyboard sounds they previously employed; Chops, Styles Infinite, & Peril-L have opened up and present a more mature sound with Triple Crown.

The one constant these Philly natives have continued with is the bringing of what I like to call “the backpack sound”—again it’s just presented in a more maturated setting. Tracks like the blaze lead-single, “Microphone Phenomenal,” (and the even more robust Styles of Beyond  remix) best display what I’m describing, as Chops horn blast sample, and heavily scratched chorus leave a lasting impression. “The Roli Rho Show” is another one of those tracks that reminds me of the hunger we used to hear from underground cats a few years back. While the skits become tiresome (ranging from Monster truck ads and Slim Jim commercials) the humorous “wrestling” skits might get a chuckle or two out of the former backpackers out there.

On top of what you would expect to hear from the trio the branching out of their sound is evident on cuts like “Hostile Takeover” as their mixture of braggadocios rhymes, over a smoothed out organ and guitar track sounds like it should be bumping out of a jeep cruising a city strip at 5 miles an hour. Unfortunately, lyrically the group lacks the same maturation, leaving you with a lot of word play that could be found on any number of Indy 12.”

The Mountain Brothers deliver a semisweet comeback effort.  But with 20 tracks, including skits’ they may have overdone it.

  Mixtape D.L.
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