Is 2010 a good year for music on the underground front? One could argue right now it’s not as bad as anticipated. We got tons of albums from good folks and good record company upstarts. Take a look at New Jersey’s wordsmith 8thw1 and the New York production team 2 Hungry Bros. Their newest collaborative, No Room For Dessert, is nothing but fun, with intricate sounds of breakbeats and jazz blended together in a smorgasbord of numerous treats. Almost makes the title seem like they’re giving us too much in the way of desserts to give us a sweet tooth, huh?
Over the next 41 minutes, you hear rap’s golden era relived in such songs as the dancehall-tinged “Short and Sweet” and the breakbeat-esque moves with light xylophones in “Can’t Win ‘Em All.” Sharp drums and horn stabs allow Reef the Lost Cauze, Homeboy Sandman, and Von Pea (!) to all join in the fun with “No Harm” while light vintage rock guitars and horns give way to hilarious quotables in “Stupidface”. All the while, it’s not something to be taken too seriously; for too long, rapping for the sake of rapping has gotten a bad rap in underground circles, especially when it comes to albums. But the way that 8thw1 & 2 Hungry Bros approach the project with a lighthearted and simplistic approach gives the project some full fledged legs to do damage to ears and smiles to faces.
Most of the credit goes to the lighthearted writing of 8thw1. He’s a hungry MC at heart, but you don’t hear it bleed through in his delivery. His raps are more an exercise in lecture than they are in skill, and moreso a test of humor and wit than seriousness. And that’s where the project shines. Obviously we wouldn’t consider this a collaborative effort if we didn’t go on about the work of 2 Hungry Bros as well. As mentioned previously, the production team takes as much of a simple approach in being breakbeat focused and not so loop determined. But when you hear the production in such tracks as the soulful “Everyday” or the hilarious “Stupidface”, it speaks to the 2 Hungry Bros musicianship approach to the project being as simple as it sounds.
After 11 (12 with a bonus!) tracks, you appreciate the sweetness and sincerity No Room For Dessert delivers on. 8thw1 and 2 Hungry Bros make a promise in just the title of the album, and both deliver handily on it. Maybe you do have more room, but just don’t know it yet. Perhaps 8thw1 and 2 Hungry Bros thought so too, but hey, they can’t spoil us on too much of a good thing right? That would just be unhealthy.