Quannum is the home of what can be considered unconventional Hip-Hop. With acts like Blackalicious, Lyrics Born, and Honeycut amongst others, Quannum has carved its own niche in Hip-Hop, and music in general. Lifesavas are a collective consisting of Jumbo the Garbageman, DJ Shines and Vursatyl and made their presence felt previously on their debut Spirit In Stone. This time around the group have donned the personas of Sleepy Floyd, Bumpy Johnson and Jimmy Slimwater as they create the soundtrack for the 70′s exploitation flick entitled Gutterfly, which has never been released.
The assumption here is that because Lifesavas have gone with a 70′s theme that this album would be chock full of funk and soul that echoes the days of Superfly and Shaft. With songs like “Double Up”, with its crashing symbols surrounding a popping vocal sample and lofty flutes, Lifesavas prove their worth. Jumbo and Vurs rock well over this production and the tone is set for the rest of the album. For the most part, Gutterfly works when it is clicking on all cylinders. Keeping it funky with George Clinton on “Nights Out”, bleeds of futuristic funk as the emcees bound about with a tale of a robbery gone wrong. Elsewhere, the trio smooth it out with “Long Letter” and get the most bang for their funky buck when Camp Lo drops in with their jazzy I-don’t-know-what-they’re-saying-but-it-sounds-cool vocabulary on the title track.
The problem with Gutterfly is that it really doesn’t bring anything new to the table. It’s not wack by any means, but it doesn’t provide anything that will be memorable after a few listens. At times The Lifesavas play second fiddle to their guests and when they are alone the album lulls. When dead prez take total control over “Freedom Writers” and Smif N Wessun steal the spotlight on “The Squeeze” these problems arise. Especially when shouldered with solo joints like “The Warning”, which just don’t pack the impact of the collaborative tracks.
Gutterfly is recommended listening if yoyu are looking for something different than what the mainstream has to offer, but just don’t expect to pull it out a year from now. It’s a “for the moment” type album. Great for a few months, but when something better comes along, it will take its place on the shelf.
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