Damaged Good$

Last week, Damaged Good$ dropped its $pread Love Not Germ$ mixtape as a free download available at damageisgood.com, ending months of dangling the carrot in front of its fans. See, the mixtape was the culmination of a project that saw the duo hosting a charity show and releasing a single during each of the last few months leading up to its release. But it was more than worth the wait, as Damaged Good$ teams up with DJ Benzi and executes excellence here.

Hip-hop is changing, folks, and Dallas may just be one of the sparks for that to happen. Mixtapes like this are important to hip-hop—the entire genre was built on partying and exploring things musically that have never been done before (see: scratching, rapping, sampling). For a group like Damaged Good$ to come and do something totally fresh reminds listeners why they got into hip-hop in the first place. And the tape casts a wide net, including samples from indie-rock outfits like Crystal Castles, using Paul Wall-inspired screwed vocal effects, and even incorporating a couple of dubstep tracks—a vast departure from the mostly stale and derivative production that has dominated mainstream (and much of underground, even) hip-hop for years.

Make no mistake: $pread Love Not Germ$ speaks to hip-hop heads too. The lyrics are witty and skillful, yet the rappers' cool flow is unavoidably touched by the influence of the Dirty South.

Mainly, though, this is party music. It's quite easy to see how Damaged Good$ is one of the most fun groups—of any genre—to play in these parts. Elements from dance music mixed in such a way with hip-hop and indie rock samples is just a breath of fresh air. In fact, I don't think something like this has been done since, well, Dallas hip-hop group Sore Losers released its own Free Loaders mixtape back in December.

Hmm. Dallas may be on to something.

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