Most boom bap heads know about Buffalo. How can we not? The Griselda crew is everywhere, even appearing on late night talk shows. However, there is another Hip-Hop movement in Buffalo that you might not know about. Before the world came to associate Griselda with Buffalo, a very different Hip-Hop scene was emerging. There is a really great interview in TheFindMag.com entitled The Resourceful Illery of Pseudo Intellectuals by Danny that I highly recommend. This interview speaks to the Buffalo scene and how the Pseudo Intellectuals came together. Buffo wasn’t always just doot, doot, doots, and high end fashion. It still isn’t.
Enter The Sundown E.P. by Th.iii.rd and Freddie Marr. This album popped up on my radar thanks to our good friend Ismail Ghedamsi-filion. He posted it on a FB group and I’m so thankful he did. I hit that link and about 20 minutes later I reached out to Th.iii.rd to invite him onto our podcast. I had to get to know this emcee. His EP with Freddie Marr is both on point lyrically and production wise. But that’s not all. He is not just a good lyricist, he is an intellectual able to deliver poignant attacks at society's ills in a way that sounds fresh and heartfelt. This is a rare trait and he has it.
Oh, and it gets better. I have so many positive things to say about this project. Okay, so he is able to drive home a positive, uplifting point. He can also rhyme, like really well and in a subtle way. Go listen to his verse on “Figaro.” My goodness. This guy is just chilling in his crib, hand wrapped around a peach Snapple, legs up on the ottoman, gaze slightly fixed on the warmth of the sun breaking through the window, while taking out every emcee you and I think is great. This dude is dope by his presence.
Okay, okay, so Th.iii.rd has something empowering to say and he can rhyme with the best of them. There is more. His voice is golden. He has that smooth, boom bap Hip-Hop voice of wisdom. It just sounds dope and smart. Regardless of what he says, it sounds like he should have said it and we should have listened. And it is easy to digest - silky smooth with just the right amount of grit. Like Kev Brown mixed with J. Cole. No, maybe Kev Brown mixed with Finale. I don’t know. You just need to listen to him and tell me your mixture equation.
Okay, okay, okay so he has the message, the lyrical skills, the voice, and, you guessed it, there is more…reverence. The fourth song on this short project is “Untitled (Fantastic)” with Nelson Rivera on saxophone. On this song he throws a nod to Slum Village and one of the greatest songs, albums, and beatsmiths this world has ever known - “Untitled,” Fan-Tas-Tic Vol. 2, and Jay Dilla. It gets better. The very next song is entitled “All Vibes” and features DJ Cutler cutting up the “vibes, vibrations” sample popularized by De La Soul on their smash single “Stakes is High.” This guy and the production team are cut from a dope, Native Tongue cloth.
Okay, okay, okay, okay let me go ahead and say a word about that Native Tongue cloth and speak about the production. Freddie Marr is the production duo of Tone (of the Pseudo Intellectuals) and Tommy Quattro (of 25 Metro). I wish I could claim that I’ve known about this production duo for years, but that would be lying. I only know because it states it on the Bandcamp page for this album that I only discovered through Ismael. Anway, the beats! Oh, the beats. If you have followed me at all, you probably know I’m a huge Native Tongues head. A lot of my favorite emcees, albums, beats, etc… come from that collective. The beats on this album are 100% on some Native Tongues vibes. The two songs I mentioned in the previous paragraph are Native Tongues all the way and that is true of the rest of the project as well. So if you like those subtle, soulful samples mixed with break beat driven drums, then you will appreciate the musicianship of this album.
In closing, I’d like to just apologize for using so many okays. And I’d also like to claim the obvious, I love this album. My only frustration is its length. With just 6 songs and a little under 20 minutes, I wanted more. I’ll settle for something else though. I’ll be cool if this reflection helps introduce the project to just a few more people. So if you haven’t heard it, do me a favor and check it out. Then I hope we can share in the joy of The Sundown. Okay?