Parallel Thought are not a household name and that’s a shame really. But that has more to do with the current state of the mainstream than these three who hail from Alabama. While there might always be room for the Waka Flocka Flame’s and Drumma Boy’s of the world, it’s good to know that dudes like the three that make up Parallel Thought are still holding down that brand of record-collecting, 70’s soul sampling type of hip-hop. It keeps the game balanced. We need Parallel Thought.
And it’s not like these dudes are nobodies. Made up of production duo Drum and Knowledge and emcee/producer Caness, the three have worked with the likes of Slug, Jean Grae, MF Doom, Cannibal Ox, Immortal Technique, Sean Price and many more. Drum and Knowledge were behind the decks of the excellent Tame-One and Del the Homosapien effort Parallel Uni-Verses while the three just dropped another collaborative offering with Del called Attractive Sin last month.
Not to slow down or change their approach, Parallel Thought offer up a 7-song EP called Articulation hat continues to showcase their excellent, underground sound. The title track samples the guttural hum of Gil-Scott Heron over big drums and hissing snare. The spacey, late-night “Mad Ill” follows as liquid-y keys spill out over tight percussion. It’s no wonder these guys worked with Del the Homosapien. “Discussion” featuring Gene the Southern Child continues a similar vibe with ringing strings and the after-hours vibe. Elsewhere on tracks like “Intangibulls” and “In the House,” Parallel Thought channel the best of NYC boom-bap but keep it modern with flourishes of keys and samples under the hard-working, urban raps of Caness.
Nostalgic, engaging, dark and yet full of thought swagger, Articulation only falters in that it’s over before you want it to be.