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Nov. 2 2011 04:47 PM

Working with Evolve One, Latino rapper trades G-funk for soul sample loops

chrymes

Crhymes
The Evolution of Crhymes

(self-released)

As the program director at internet radio station DagoSD.com, Latino rapper Crhymes is eager to connect with other artists to promote them and broaden his reach. On his new album, The Evolution of Crhymes, he works with one of his newer connections, beatmaker Evolve One. It’s an important partnership—while Crhymes’ earlier work focused on gangster-friendly West Coast G-funk, Evolve introduces soul-sample loops and, with it, what some might consider a more artistic experience. Whether or not you interpret this as Crhymes’ evolution, as the title suggests, depends on your preference for the two seemingly opposite hip-hop styles.

Evolve’s production is consistently solid throughout the album. He sticks to a tried-and-true formula, digging for gems in his vinyl crates and looping them continuously, sometimes leaving that warm vinyl crackle intact. “Round and Round” and “Girl Believe” are satisfying comfort food for a hip-hop head’s soul. Crhymes also sticks to the formula he’s known for, rapping about anything from haters to sex to relationships. He shines when he gets autobiographical and introspective, and he shows lots of heart on the title track, as well as album highlight “Pain.”

But it might be a bit much to call this an “evolution,” because that implies that Evolution is somehow better than previous albums. He offers up roughly the same picture as he does on One Breath Closer, his previous release; he’s just using a different canvas.

Unintentionally or not, this revives the age-old debate about the merits of gangster rap vs. “real” or “artistic” hip-hop. Enjoy it for what it is; just be careful not to elevate one hip-hop sub-genre at the expense of another.

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