I-5 Connect is a brand new group that consists of both artists from northern California as well as the ones representing Seattle in Washington state. Members of the crew include following people: Outrageous, Dough, Killa Klump, Matt Blaque and Enormus Tha Ox. Outrageous has once lived throughout various cities in northern Cali, yet now resides in Seattle, just as Dough does. The other three rappers should already be known to Bay Area rap fans. Klump holds it down for South San Francisco, Matt reps Oakland and Ox hails from San Jose. All of them have already released their own projects (Outrageous has the richest discography so far), but now joined forces to show you that the West Coast rap scene is united and brings heat.
This coalition has already laced you this year with a promotional EP project entitled "Premeditated" (read the review) that was available for free download, however limited quantities have also been pressed. I highly encourage you to both listen to that album as well as to read the review, since it perfectly prepares fans for the hereby "The First 48" full-length LP. Especially since this one contains a set of 16 brand new, unheard tracks. Vocal side of this project is really on a top notch level. Both Outrageous and Dough appear on (almost) every song and bring continuous heat. You can hear that these artists are pretty experienced, as they always keep up with the beat and smoothly follow the melodies. Killa Klump also brought a set of nice verses, however you will see him on approximately half of the cuts. Right now I need to mention that he's not as rhythmical as the rest. His harsh voice and hard delivery do sound tight, yet sometimes don't blend that well with musical background. That's just his style, he always performed like that, so if you're a fan, then you shouldn't be concerned about it. Enormus Tha Ox appeared only on a couple of joints (about 6), nonetheless he always comes correct and lace you with surprising rhymes and catchy phrases. Last but definitely not least is Matt Blaque who is responsible for the R&B part of the project. The vast majority of hooks are done by him, but he also wrote a few melodious verses. If you're interested in lyrics, then you should know that "The First 48" is mostly dedicated to street rap audience. You will receive a mixture of turf business, representing one's territory, drug transactions, sex, dissing police, haters, snitches and showcasing one's swagger. Yep, truth is, you won't in fact hear anything brand new, however this meal right here has been cooked really great; mainly thanks to non-played-out rhymes, charisma and hunger audible in rappers' voices.
Production is yet another significant factor of the currently reviewed album. All 16 tracks are polished and well put together. Everybody did hell of a job in order to bring crispy clean music that blends well with verses and hooks. Composers include following people: Swerve (6), Sean T (3), D-Sane (3), Tryfe (3) and Checkin' Trapps aka Mindtrapp. "The First 48" is dominated by middle-paced beats that rather feature delicate instrumental samples (pianos or guitars) than electronic sounds typical for the contemporary rap scene. There are hardly any funny or party-like cuts, so expect serious vibes with hard-hitting drums. Mainly sex related joints tend to be more entertaining and a bit faster, still don't look for any traits of hyphy on such titles as "Addicted To You", "Git Up On It" or "Sweet Up In My Suitte". This album is a real solid banger from start to finish and I only wasn't satisfied with "We Make Money Hustle", as it featured a slightly worse production and irritating, looped chorus (not performed by Matt). I was also kind of surprised with a lack of quality in Kurupt's verse. One could think that such a veteran would bring something refreshing to the table, yet his weak rhymes and lack of merit got instantly outshined by I-5 Connect crew. All in all, Outrageous, Dough, Killa Klump, Matt Blaque and Enormus proved that they have a lot to offer. Plus they care both about quality and quantity, which is seldom seen these days. Anyway, I do recommend you to look out for this cd, it's really worth your money.
Visit the following MySpace profiles: I-5 Connect, Outrageous, Dough, Killa Klump, Enormus Tha Ox and Matt Blaque. Download the promotional EP from DatPiff.
Outrageous, thank you for providing a copy for the review.
Written by: khamenei