By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
With the blues-, rock- and gospel-tinged offerings on Dem Southernfolkz's debut release, The Message, the area hip-hop trio has immediately established itself as an impressive crew with a unique take on the genre. Sure, it's easy to liken the act to Nappy Roots, Goodie Mob and Outkast (in their "Southerplayalistic" days), but through its liberal use of gospel influence, Dem Southernfolkz has also established itself as an entity all its own; "Krunkdafied" and "Sunday Morning" just might give your Granny the holy ghost.
The album opens with "Hello Monday," a feel-good, piano-driven song about an insatiable desire to make positive progress in life. Unfortunately, it drags a bit; Nanette Jackson croons softly over a super-extended piano solo that finally clocks out 6:47—or about three minutes too long. "Darling Sista," on the other hand, is an earnest ode to the women Dem Southernfolkz love—family and lovers alike—and the minimalist drum-kicks and acoustic guitar nicely complement the sentiment of the lyrics.
Other standout tracks include "Help Me Through the Day," "Gub'ment Cheese" and "I Love It," which are all the result of a passionate romance between hard-hitting dirty South hip-hop and wailing rock guitar riffs. The overall instrumental depth is perhaps the most impressive element, though; you, like the rest of us, will be jonesing to catch Dem Southernfolkz in a live performance in the coming months.
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