Album Review: The Chicago Drop

by Brandon Wetherbee
Magazine Editor

This compilation features ten local hip-hop bands with each playing an original song. All of the groups are bands so the music that you hear is not sampled or just made on a Casio keyboard.

Dynamic Vibrations start the disc with “Take It In Stride,” a positive song about “dreaming of having a wife and a kid.” The laid back jazz that backs the track will appeal to those who enjoy Slum Village.

“The Chase,” by Contriband, begins with a laid back chorus with a female singer. It evolves into a classic diatribe about the perils of money before. The last minute-and-a-half allow the musicians to show their chops.

Farm Crew’s “Do It All Again” begins with a flute line and a fuzzed-up sample. Anyone familiar with the U’s Svengoolie will enjoy this tale of riding the El and assessing your life. The song rises to a peak, “when you’re broke you’re really at your richest.” The spastic drum beat and the two emcee’s going at each other for the last minute make the build-up well worth it.

The highlight of the Tabakin track “Spank” comes from the emcee’s delivery. Whether the song is making fun of sex or being completely honest about it is not clear. The only thing that’s for sure is the line, “you got ass/I got time.”

The brain behind this compilation, absTRACT giANTS come in with a track from their album “A Grow Culture” with “Mathismo.” Of all the bands on the compilation, they have the most going on, at least musically.

The standout track on “The Chicago Drop” is “Atmosfear” by Small Change. The beats fit the lyrical delivery perfectly. With excellent metaphors about heavy metal, “Kill Bill Vol. 1” and the current war, it’s hard not to be blown away. Star People’s “(Back in the Day We Were All) Star People” is a crowd pleaser. A call-and-response song, if you check them out at Metro you’ll definitely be chanting, “where my star people at?”

Treologic is well-known at DePaul. We’ve run pieces on them in The DePaulia and they’re constantly guests on Radio DePaul. I can’t quite grasp what the song, “Clap Clap” is about, especially with the line, “give us the clap clap.” “Grudge” by Bad News Jones sounds most like Common, with a jam tacked onto the end of the song.

Planets Audible has the honor of closing out the compilation with “Composition of the Nod.” The song begins like any common rock song you’d hear on the Mix 101.9, but quickly shifts gears and sounds like a hippy/hip-hop fantasy.

All of the bands on this compliation have a shot at becoming the next darling of the underground, so judge for yourself and pick up “The Chicago Drop.”