This is one of three discs I got free at Sunday night’s Ice Bears Tour in Omaha. I normally regard homemade CD-R type joints with a certain amount of disdain, but CUFX (pronounced “suffix”) was one of the tour DJ’s at the concert and recognized that I was there covering the show in a professional capacity. Even if the disc itself looks janky I can hardly say no, particularly given I thought he did a respectable job musically when called upon during the evening. Regardless it still has to be said – no liner notes, no tracklisting and no artwork leads to NO REVIEW 99 times out of 100. I would like aspiring artists looking to get their reviews on this site to take note of that. Given that I’m trying to make the most of an evening that was at times depressing CUFX is getting a slot in this week’s update other artists would not. Make sure you include a full press kit with your shit, or don’t complain if we don’t cover it when you don’t bother.
Before we get started here’s what biographical data I can give you on this artist from the limited amount of info on his MySpace page. CUFX hails from Buffalo, New York. He’s part of a crew called Constant Climax. His motto is “No 45, just a bunch of 45’s.” He describes his musical style as “an MV8, the 1000 and a turntable” and favors sampling beats although “good music is good music so if you’re making it holla.” With that out of the way there are 9 unlabelled tracks on “Demo 2008,” starting with a song I can identify as “Hotel Cali” thanks to the aforementioned MySpace and samples from the Eagles’ 1977 track which could probably not be cleared for any amount of money. That doesn’t stop it from being a cool song, but the rapper who bills himself as “The Poet Kadir” (I’m guessing on the spelling here) will probably have to live with this one never getting an official retail release.
Next up is a song clocking in at 3:53 long which features an overly simplistic two note backdrop, but on the plus side CUFX scratches on the hook and the long missing in action Mykill Miers resurfaces to put a “vocal lynchin” on the track. It’s fairly evident from both the hook and the MySpace that this joint is called “World War” and it’s among the more popular of CUFX’s tracks (123 plays as of this writing). This is immediately followed by a song 3:12 long which is the MOST popular of all his online tracks, though the reason why is immediately obvious – Ghostface Killah. CUFX did a remix of “Holla.”
Ghost: “I’m from a place where fish was made
Corduroy Bally’s, sportin those Rakim Kangols
Rakeem came, high self-esteem promised me
a moment in life just to wreck y’all lames
Throw the tec to your brain, puttin the best to shame
This is Theodore, best to tuck those Dana Dane’s
See me comin (blaow!) start runnin and (blaow! blaow!)
Aiyty… (blaow! blaow! blaow!)
Who them fly niggaz when we walk through the party
Pimp talk with the mac strapped to our body
Bartender’s nervous, afraid to serve us, bad service
Un smacked him on purpose”
That’s cool and all but Ghostface deserves the credit for this track’s dopeness. In fact to be honest, with no offense meant to CUFX, I prefer the self-produced original with the Delfonics sample. Coming up fourth at 3:49 long is a song that can’t be identified by any means, which is tragic given it’s my favorite on “CUFX Demo 2008” to date. It’s a slow plodding beat with heavy bass bumps and a highly visual rap that calls “heaven a mosh pit where angels get tossed in” and a hook from a cigarette smoked jazz singer. The fifth is a remix of “Hip Hop” by dead prez. As CUFX remixes go I like this one better than “Holla,” a mixture of piano melody and city traffic, but it still makes me yearn for the heavy electronic bass of the original. The next track samples from Jackson 5’s “I Am Love,” chopping it up and breaking it down into my favorite rap song on the entire album. This too was not available on CUFX’ MySpace and can’t be further ID’d. The same goes for the soulful sounds of seven, with a versatile verbalist who raps about love, life and family from a hip-hop perspective. CUFX’ demo gets better the further in you go, even as it gets harder to get a handle on who’s on the album or what their songs are called.
The album closes with another remix, this one easily my favorite of the album. CUFX takes the classic Big L track “Flamboyant” and flips it on a Wu-Tang tip straight out of 1970’s Kung-Fu-sploitation. It’s clear that CUFX has a lot of talent both from watching him live and from listening to this demo, but there are also drawbacks that I can’t avoid mentioning. Flipping remixes to showcase your styles is an easy way to get your name out and certainly beats finding rappers to rap on your beats, but it’s also dangerous for your rep if you don’t rock it stronger than the original. CUFX’ tendency to use familiar samples can make for enjoyable tracks, but it can also make for unclearable songs that are never going to see the light of day except on bootleg CD-R joints like this. To really take it to the next level I’d like to see CUFX do an entire album of original beats with original raps, drawing from known names and underground cats who need a hot beat alike – and please make it a professional CD with artwork and the whole nine. It’s fair to say CUFX has a lot of potential, but also fair to say he has a long way to go.