Review ·

Blueprint's first steps toward his status as a commendable producer and emcee were taken alongside Manifest in 1997 as a crew called Greenhouse Effect. With a long delay between the beginning of the recording and its actual release, the group's debut, Life Sentences, didn't drop on Weightless until 2003, and third member Inkwel decided to exit. Last year's Columbus or Bust features only Ohio natives Blueprint and Manifest (and some guests), fittingly spitting regional pride over 'Print's chunky, bleary beats. When Blueprint has finished an eloquent verse regarding his omnipresent upward struggle, or when Greenhouse Effect isn't offering a healthy dose of insults to underground peers and Internet junkies, sometimes the subject pool runs a little dry. Fortunately, 'Print's production is always dizzying and impressive.

 

Blueprint's prime choices for beat-building are mostly steeped in samples from late '60s and '70s psyche rock - Illogic's Celestial Clockwork and 'Print's own Chamber Music are good examples of this. Though 2005's 1988 differed in theme (in its tribute to a decade long gone), Columbus or Bust is just as rich in huge, crackling drum breaks and looming Procol Harum-type organ riffs. From the impending beatdown characterized by neighborhood squabbles on "Still Shook" ("you local/ we global/ you frontin' like a star/ but don't nobody know you"), to the paid-my-dues laundry list over the Marshall stack guitar loops of "Square One," both 'Print and Manifest deal verses just as jagged as the background.

 

Things only get a little empty following the sample from Campbell Scott's unsettling Rodger Dodger character, when the sharp-tongued Columbus emcees switch to catcalls in "Bad Girl" and "Find Me at the Bar." Some lyrical pickup isn't far behind in "I Will Not Lose," though, when the tempo drops to even more of a drunken swagger, and 'Fest and 'Print regain the crisp, defiant momentum that breaks open the LP. Careful not to lose them in the swimming string loop, though - it's heavenly.

 

 

 

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 "Still Shook" MP3 sample

 "I Will Not Lose" MP3 sample

Weightless Recordings Web site

  • The Idea
  • Ground Zero
  • Still Shook
  • Watch
  • Columbus Or Bust
  • E-Thugs
  • They Listen To This
  • Square One
  • The Street Theme
  • It's Only Life
  • Find Me At The Bar
  • Bad Girl
  • You Must Learn
  • I Will Not Lose/What's It All About
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