Damaged Good$

Kickin Teef Self-released

Before the likes of A.Dd+, Sore Losers, Killa M.C. and The Mohicans each started staking their claims as the would-be torchbearers of the Dallas hipster-hop scene, there were Damaged Good$, an off-the-wall duo backed by insanely inventive, electronica-indebted beats. Seems like forever ago, but, alas, it was just in 2009 when the band released their Hello World debut with the help of London producer Xrabit, who'd discovered Coool Dundee and Theodore Beard while looking for Southern hip-hop greatness on MySpace. A year later came the locally produced, mellower-in-vibe follow-up, $pread Luv Not Germ$, which saw the twosome combining their strong scene presence with a more heart-warming spirit, as all shows promoting the free mixtape served as benefits for local charities.

Then? Well, nothing. For a while there, Dundee and Beard were missing in action — until, out of nowhere, comes this latest mixtape, which finds Dundee sans his more energetic but less lyrically gifted co-pilot. As such, Kickin Teef is quite the change of pace, with Dundee's deep vocals solely dominating the mix.

But that's hardly the only difference at play on this mostly disappointing sonic diversion from Damaged Good$' massively endearing, happy-go-lucky attitude. Instead, the listener is force-fed an Odd Future aesthetic this time.

East London-based producer Bollywood Cole's production is interesting enough. It's sparse, dark and dreary, with some chopped and screwed elements tossed in. Meanwhile, Dundee's verses remain as clever as ever. But the stated mission at play — to stand out from the wannabe Outkast crowd, as Dundee explains on "FORTHEIDONTGIVEAFCKS" — is a flop, given the obvious trend-hopping in which Dundee, previously a rather inventive performer, is now partaking.

 
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