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Gensu Dean/Denmark Vessey: Whole Food [Digipak] *

Track List

>Meek, The
>Whole Food
>Ode to XX Chromosome
>Black Love - (featuring 7even: Thirty/Iman Omari)
>Gun Emoji (Bang)
>Biscuits & Gravy
>Racka Lamb
>Broken Petal
>Surreal N_gga
>Let's Go (Move)

Album Notes

Whole Food pairs up Detroit-born, Chicago-based MC Denmark Vessey with under-recognized Texas-based producer Gensu Dean for a casual yet focused album of socially conscious underground hip-hop. As with MF Doom's Mm...Food, there's a food theme tying the songs together, but even more so than that album, this one branches off and discusses other subjects with food references serving as metaphors. As the album's brief intro spells out, eating can relate to politics, business meetings, dating, and other purposes. The lyrics discuss topics such as money, sexuality, relationships, and black pride. Vessey's rapping alternates between brash statements, concerned venting, and more laid-back, even humorous verses and asides. Gensu Dean's production, created the traditional way using a sampler and stacks of old records, sticks to the blueprint laid by veteran New York rap producers like Large Professor and Pete Rock, with no concessions to any form of Southern rap, even though Dean was born in Mississippi and resides in Texas. His beats flow smoothly enough to disguise his complex edits and loops, and there are many tracks that sound like they could've been created with live instruments due to his preference for sampling warm-sounding guitars, drums, and organs from old psych and funk records. Nearly all of the tracks clock in at around three or four minutes, but they don't always stick to proper verse-chorus-verse structure; "Ode to XX Chromosome" is mainly a series of poetic exclamations rather than conventional raps. Vessey's vocals are multi-tracked and creatively mixed, and he has enough of a range so that it seems like there are several MCs in the room (in reality, "Black Love" is the only track to feature any guest rappers). The album has a few heavy-handed moments, but overall, it's motivational and encouraging without sounding like a lecture, and loose without sounding like it's being phoned in. ~ Paul Simpson


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