Here at Phoenix headquarters we get at least a half-dozen local rap discs every week. Some have one or two ringers buried beneath the usual inaudible rubble, a few have compelling samples, and maybe three in 30 are mixed well. Of this year's batch so far, Aztech's Dusty Stereo is the anomaly.
In 17 memorable tracks the North Shore MC makes as strong a case as ever for reviewers to check every slim-case demo that shows up on their doorsteps. Relying on his own skills, as well as on those of known locals such as Lateb, Grime, and Ripshop and promising unknowns like the explosive Eroc sound-alike Ethah, Aztech has the rhyme department blanketed.
There's not much subject matter other than his love for hip-hop, but homeboy sprinkles enough didactic nuggets to render his message relevant. Most impressive, however, is the beat selection; beyond the few industry jacks, Dusty Stereo is ablaze with tight sample-tastic production peaking on the super soulful "Empty World" with Seek and Relentless. On "Remain," Aztech rhymes that his goal was to "make a new track and ask Faraone his feedback." Well — I think it's dope. Not just because of the shout-out, but that always helps.