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Show Review

We're still blasting Doomtree's first collective LP No Kings, but we're glad to see that the unbridled joy of "Bangarang" isn't limited to the daily struggle against traffic. The chemistry of the crew is so heightened, it's awesome enough to hear them all on the same track, let alone all in the same room rocking a karaoke machine and grinning from ear to ear as they cry the collective chorus. Unfortunately, the narrative of having Har Mar Superstar be the Karaoke-crasher only serves to confuse us further about who is rapping when (just kidding, we've got pixelated renderings of our heroes behind the scrolling lyrics, and can't you pick out their respective flow?). Rap along if you can, although there are certainly a few times when Sims, P.O.S. or the rest of the gang will leave you in the dust.

Artist Bio

Wings and teeth. No two symbols couldve been better chosen to represent Minneapolis rap stalwarts Doomtree. The endlessly innovative crew/label has defied categorization from the start, leaving behind convention for whats best described as aggressive transcendence. Through a tireless work ethic, take-noprisoners production, lyrics that never shy from truth, and an always shifting stylistic mix, this family has carved out an elevated corner unto itself. And like most families, as well as the imagery this one employs, Doomtree is as defined by its internal differences as its similarities: Seven artists whose diversity of tastes and consistency of character combine to make the team an unstoppable, honest, creatively vicious whole.

Its unsurprising then that Doomtrees origins are a decade deep, dating back to 2001 when a handful of friends fresh out of high school hatched a plan to make a life out of the passion thatd carried them that far. Handmade CD-Rs (the start of their cult-beloved False Hopes series) and local shows (echoed by the annual Doomtree Blowout festival today) evolved into a proper business and respectable home base. In the time since, P.O.S, Dessa, Sims, Cecil Otter, Mike Mictlan, Lazerbeak and Paper Tiger have become stars in their own right, but no matter where their careers take them (poetry books, the Gayngs super-band with Bon Iver, records with Rhymesayers, Strange Famous and Frenchkiss), they always come home.

While 2008's full-crew album Doomtree functioned as a group manifesto and (re)introduction to each members particular charms, 2011 was all about claiming what was already theirs. As rap, flush with new blood, began to get wild again, Doomtree reminded us that theyve been doing it for a decade, fusing punks explosive energy with hip-hops heady swagger. The WUGAZI mixtape 13 Chambers, mashing Fugazi classics with Wu-Tang bangers, was a perfect palate cleanser for the groups strikingly ambitious No Kings LP. Ready to break new collaborative ground, they stocked up on booze and sandwich fixings, retreated to a Wisconsin cabin and stayed there till theyd created something bold, beautiful and hard.

The title of the record is both a call for rebellion and respect: Obey no kings, seek no thrones. Indeed No Kings displays a gang of friends who are fearless in each others company and beholden to none. At times musical and lush (Beacon) and at times dark and clanging (Bolt Cutter), the beats project the radical power of P.O.S, the inventive classicism of Cecil Otter, the moving moodiness of Paper Tiger and the face-melting heat of Lazerbeak. Meanwhile, Mike Mictlan and Sims trade lithe lines with much swagger over smashing drums on Punch-Out, Otter and Dessa get bluesy on top of the mournful guitar of Little Mercy, and P.O.S leads the amped-up charge for Bangarang, which celebrates ten years in our lane.

Both fun and fierce, blade-flashing and uplifting, unpredictable and unapologetic, No Kings is the sound of seven people who look different, talk different and listen to different music coming together and simply going full-tilt on an album from start to finish. Wings and teethits the Doomtree way.

Source: Artist Site


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