December 17, 2014

Player 1 & Bloody Bones - Crime Rate Sky High (1994)


This was my introduction to lo-fi memphis horrorcore, and it remains my favorite. It captures the gritty Memphis sound perfectly, and the MCs are actually skilled enough to match the producer (memphis rap tapes are great for atmosphere, but some of the mc's are weak compared to the producing juggernauts such as DJ Sound, Tommy Wright III, DJ Paul, and Blackout).

It's produced by DJ Sound, one of the greatest Memphis producers, only rivalled by Blackout, Paul, and Tommy Wright, and the production is exceptional. Sound uses some typical Memphis elements; repetitive samples, lots of snare and high hats, but Sound doesn't use nearly as much bass as most Memphis producers. In this way it's somewhat similar to Blackout's Dreamworld, as neither producers overuse bass and both albums sound psychedelic at times. The samples are perfect, and his incorporation of samples is so flawless it seems as if some of them are hooks or breaks recorded for the tracks.

Sound, Bloody Bones, and Player 1 are all from the Ridgecrest projects. Sound was originally a producer for various small groups, even winning his high school talent show, but his abilities were unrefined at this point. He received some help from DJ Livewire and quickly became an incredibly talented producer. He then picked some of the best MC's from frayser and formed the supergroup Frayserclick, which came to have a body of work as incredible as three 6's, but comparatively unknown.

Player 1 is the more experienced member of the duo, and helps Sound manage Frayserclick. Both Player 1 and Bloody Bones, also known as Player 2, are talented, and they cover topics from social justice to psychos to gangsterism. I don't think I've heard another MC from Memphis with a flow as complex or as large of a vocabulary. It sounds kind of like a freestyle flow, but with confidence. There's not a single moment on the album when the mc's verses don't flow, and sound's production on this tape is some of his best.

To support Sound, one of the most underrated producers in hip-hop, check out Frayserclick's site, and buy some of their CDs.

Sample

Crime Rate Sky High