Has anyone grown tired of the Crunk scene yet? Better yet are there any artists from the South who are tired of being associated with Crunk like it is the only style of music made below the Mason Dixon line? Basic Vocab may be considered as a group that has nothing to do with Crunk, but instead showcases that Southern hip-hoppers have more to offer than booty shaking music. With emcees JL Sorrell and Mental Growth being backed by Tony Gavin (Dave Ghetto’s Love..Life?, Trick Daddy’s “Shut Up” and Trina’s “Baddest Bitch” are on his resume) on the boards, Basic Vocab’s debut, The General Dynamic, looks to show that the state of Florida has emcees as diverse as they come.
Basic Vocab are far from being “basic” emcees. Both Mental Growth and JL Sorrell have quite a bit to offer from a lyrical standpoint. “It’s Alright” is a song built to reassure those who are dealing in bleak times to keep their chins up. Sounds pretty simple in concept, but is articulated very well by two guys who call themselves “basic.” The only basic thing about the duo of emcees is the sound of their voices which can be quite difficult to distinguish one from the other. But once you find the slight pitch difference between the two you are treated by two emcees that are able to be diverse without being repetitive. The can cover social ill and dilemmas with joints like “Fallen One” or just give it to you raw with tracks like “Fly That Head” with the help of Dave Ghetto.
Tony Gavin delivers a pretty solid product from a production standpoint. Although it pales in comparison to his work on Dave Ghetto’s debut, Gavin’s work plays well throughout. When Gavin contributes backdrops like “Fallen One”, there isn’t much to complain about as he matches some introspective lyrics with solid production. Gavin even takes it down a notch to soothe the soul with the previously mentioned “Sex” by hitting the sweet spot with subtle keys and crooning synthesizers. There are some pieces of production that don’t stand as strong (“Likeness”, for example) but all in all Gavin does a great job of keeping the momentum he built up previously going with this release.
While the album is strong, it isn’t convincing enough to make the average radio listener smash all of his Lil Jon records and replace them with Basic Vocab’s. The majority of hip hoppers are brainwashed and need something quite drastic to shift their collective ears. Basic Vocab is solid as solid can be, but unfortunately the Crunk movement still overshadows everything.
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