In recent years, the local hip-hop scene has grown; new groups and artists have sprouted in every corner of the city. Along with this growth has come opportunities for crews to strut their stuff in local clubs and as opening acts for major artists who roll through town. Roadside Profits is one of the groups who have made a substantial amount of noise this year. After making the rounds with a slick live show, the trio -- consisting of brothers DJ Musa Bailey and MC Ra Bailey (InfernoSun) and MC Derrick Brown (Solsvoyce) -- has delivered its debut album, The Road Less Traveled.
The disc begins with a short intro advising the listener that "Some people take the road less traveled," and the members of Roadside Profits are among them. On the next cut, "Meaning of...?," a slick drum track is accompanied by a choppy bass line as InfernoSun and Solsvoyce pass the mike back and forth in a move reminiscent of old-school Run DMC stylings, but updated with the grittiness of a Redman/Method Man collaboration; the chemistry between the two MCs is undeniable. The overall production on the album harks back to early-'90s hip-hop. "Livelihoods," for instance, will remind fans of classic Pete Rock, Large Professor or Evil Dee productions. And lyrically, the Profits actually have something of substance to say, refreshing in a time when so many crews focus more on making hits than on making people think. On "G.O.D. (Good Orderly Direction)," for instance, the group tackles organized religion, while "Pack of Lies" addresses the ills of society and the treatment of minorities, and "No Matter What" encourages us to find love.
While The Road Less Traveled is a solid debut effort, it's not without its faults. The production of the CD is top-notch, but the use of the DJ is limited. Although Musa is well known for his mixing prowess, his turntable skills are rarely showcased here. And you won't find a radio-ready track on the album, either, as the sound and feel of the project are more suited to the underground. But that's as it should be, because the thought-provoking music created by the Roadside Profits is definitely a road less traveled.
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