ManeLine

...& Sew Its Seams
Self-released

It's no insult to say that the latest from ManeLine, one of Denver's true hip-hop mainstays, is old-school. Indeed, the refusal of Mane Rok, InkLine and DeeJay Tense to emulate the trendy production techniques of, say, Just Blaze or Danja is one of the album's strengths. The arrangements are big and busy, not stripped down and spare, on the likes of "Ain't Real Ain't Right," whose hook is reinforced by the efforts of an entire children's choir. As for "All Alone," the sound harks back to hip-hop's jazziest era via horn splats, guest star Venus Cruz's energetic wails and a chant that includes the line "C'mon, Colorado, what you want us to do?" Speaking for the state, don't change a thing.

 
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