It's testament to the depth of our local hip-hop scene that a side project like the new Manic Mondays can be so consistently strong throughout 17 proper tracks. A collaboration between MCs Dynamo-P, Ryan Augustus (Educated Advocates), and Misl (Dirt Coalition) that's the result of literally months of Monday-night get-togethers, the album is a very listenable collection of '90s-era hip-hop that feels immediate and in the moment, capturing the live energy of a freestyle battle without too much of the halting and repetitiveness that can engender.
With so much material, the hour of music can start to blur by if you're not careful. The choruses aren't pop-flavored and the production, while artful, tends to be somewhat even-keeled, so there aren't a lot of in-your-face moments that force you to pay attention. Rather, you've got to listen closely for Cindy Blodgett and Billy Cundiff references, the bowed bass (supplied by beatmaker Micodin) and the classical guitar (Slop).
I was drawn most to the "get down with the get down" of "Manic Monday Freestyle Joint" and the Boondocks cuts on "Clean Slate," but it's the kind of record where new discoveries are possible with every listen. Manic Mondays might not be full of "hits," but there certainly aren't many misses.
MANIC MONDAYS | Released by Manic Mondays | with MC Nobody Cares | at the Big Easy, in Portland | April 26 | dynamo-p.bandcamp.com/album/manic-mondays
: CD Reviews
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