Vintage eccentricity

DirtyDurdie provides free 'Group Therapy' sessions
By CHRIS CONTI  |  September 4, 2013

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STRIVING FOR A POSITIVE EFFECT Durdie and Dirty. [Photo by Corey Grayhorse]

DirtyDurdie return in a big way behind a brand-new platter titled Group Therapy, as Durdie Furbie, aka Gremlyn (Kyle Antonio), and Dirty Ice (Demmene Syronn) continue their lyrical crusade against the influx of swagger-jacked rappers plaguing the genre and overall love-hate relationship with modern-day hip-hop. Group Therapy provides more food for thought, following the fantastic 2011 mixtape Rhymanese Diner (a must-cop available at undergroundhiphop.com) and will be available free via download (through SoundCloud and various media outlets) beginning September 8. Trust me — you are in need of some serious Group Therapy.

The PVD-based duo met in Grem’s hometown of New Bedford in 2001 and has been slinging razor-sharp rhymes since 2008. These guys have paid plenty of dues over the years, playing countless live shows and garnering a rep as ardent supporters of the Rhody/New England rap community (Grem hosts the “Histories Finest” series at Miller’s Homeport in New Bedford on the second Saturday of each month). Grem’s spirited, nasal flow rides shotgun alongside Iceman’s baritone bars, and on Group Therapy DD’s mission statement remains intact: “focused on forging a cultural library of raw music for fans of a sound that’s not saturated with commercialism.”

Rhymanese Diner was hands-down one of my favorite local albums of 2011. The natural-born performance artists released two short films for that set’s “The Boycott” and “Steamed Veggies,” with the duo painted up as clowns while skulking around Kennedy Plaza. But the message was dead-serious and spot-on: stop feeding on stale, flavorless rap lyrics. And there was no clowning around when I asked both lyricists to describe his partner’s rhyme style. Grem eloquently noted that “Ice draws from many familiar nuances and weaves them into sophisticated webs of vintage eccentricity. Familiar yet rare; fun with deep meaning.” And Ice praised Grem for “priding himself on topical versatility, unfamiliar cadence, and aggressive bar structure.”

A Malcolm X sample opens Group Therapy before Gremlyn jumps on the bouncy beat of “Skip To My Lou”: “I gather raw data then jot it on paper/Best thing for hip-hop since the crossfader.” DJ Kellan provides the cuts throughout and slices up Guru on “Personal, Not Business.” The one-two punch of “Swing Ya Neck” (“My team will never surrender, forfeit, blindly make moves, or switch to corporate,” snaps Grem) and “Swordspenship” are highlights. And while DirtyDurdie take pride in elevating lyrics and dishing out tough love sans profanity, Gremlyn goes all in versus the rap game with “Why Do I Love Her” (produced by Ice), inspired by Common’s 1994 classic “I Used to Love H.E.R.”

“Today’s Top 40 hip-hop songs all express heavy sexual content, using sexual innuendo as a marketing tool, so I painted a vulgar picture vividly describing hip-hop as a woman I fell in love with, then found out she had been cheating on me and selling herself for fame,” said Grem. The lyrical concepts behind “Running” and “Lucid” (one of two tracks featuring singer Sarah Kearley on the hook) are equally sly. The DirtyDurdie twosome seems like a perfect matchup with producer FourOhOne; latter-half cuts “Zero Gravity,” “Glorious Magic” (“Sometimes I hate my occupation/Wonderin’ if I can make a positive effect across the nation,” Grem grumbles), and the closer “Omega Haiku” are three of the best yet from the DD catalog.

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