DNA SUPER*

by FUTURE APE TAPES

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about

Reviewing this release demands that I first remind some people of what hip-hop is about: the voice of a community. The voice is what made hip-hop viable music in the early days, but it's also where hip-hop currently struggles, electively mired in the rote repetition of gang bangin’ anecdotes, misogynistic sentiment and recycled beats. So, I’m happy when diversions from this motif appear.

Probably the best thing about this disc is that it contains so much insightful rapping, even if the flows are a little awkward at times. Consider briefly the notion of “incurring psychic debt” and you’re getting close to the Ape situation.

For those of us who fondly remember upbeat jams from Jeff and the Fresh Prince or Tribe, this release can fan that possibly fading torch, and with discernible influence from The Roots (Do You Want More?!!!??! era), Gravediggaz and the Beasties, longtime fans of the genre will appreciate FAT’s innovation. The only troubling thing about the release is that as good as it is at times, it never really offers a unifying theme to lock in the listener’s attention.

The fun, home-studio-style production of DNA Super* grows more out of ol’ skool steadiness than experimentation, so it errs infrequently, but there is some evidence of aspirations of Madlibbery surfacing on occasion.

“B.O.D. Ride” is a good track to jump in with as it offers a clear glimpse of the Tapes at their best; I swear it’s not solely because it contains one of the funniest intro couplets I’ve heard in a long time (“I say we freshen the party like that bowl of trail mix/ The blunts I roll, they get you higher than spaceships”), but because it’s a quick view of what the group seems to be focused on - prodding the strange metaphysical experience of the smart monkey by way of a party jam.

Tony Floyd/Flagpole Magazine

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released December 26, 2008

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FUTURE APE TAPES Athens

Pyramid Musique to zone out and dance to.

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