Loose Change are a four-person hip hop crew from Sydney, Australia. The group is made up of rappers Rapaport and Ellesquire, producer P Major, and DJ Sam Z on the cuts. Several tracks feature guest verses by P Smurf. This is their first album, available for free from their website.
As with almost all the Aussie hip hop I’ve heard through writing for RapReviews, the beats are solid. According to their bio, P Major frequently performs at jazz, African, and experimental music events, and his broad knowledge of music shows in his beats. There is a heavy jazz influence across the album, which references back to early 90s jazz-rap acts like Digable Planets, Tribe Called Quest, and Jazzmatazz. “Up the Shit” samples a jazz guitar; “Suitable” and “Those Days” are built around a piano samples; and “Cyber Lady” has a mellow jazz organ. It’s not all jazzy though. “Fucked Up” and “Put Us On,” are dirty funk, and opening track “Survival of the Fattest” mixes handclap beats with a funky guitar riff, while the crew crib from Digable Planets by declaring their “Beats so heavy, cats will gain weight.”
While I was feeling the beats, I wasn’t so enthusiastic about the rhymes. On the plus side, Rapaport and Ellesquire have verbal dexterity and a laid-back, old school feel. Their lyrics and flow, however, weren’t doing it for me. “Murder the Track” is a good example: the duo offers up some rapid-fire verses, but despite rhymes about slaughtering the beat, they don’t really murder the track. “Call Me” sees them pulling a Drake and singing. The mellow, R&B-influenced hip hop might appeal to some (or in Drake’s case, a million record-buyers and counting), but not me. They also drop some clumsy rhymes, like the horny and corny “Cyber Lady.” It’s all done with competence, some skill, and an easy-going charm. Sometimes that’s enough to win me over, but the formula wasn’t working this time around.
You can sample all fifteen tracks at their website for free, and if you like what you hear, the album is yours for the low, low price of 100 MB of hard drive space. If you like jazzy beats and laid-back rapping, Loose Change is worth investigating. At the very least they offer further proof that Aussies know hip hop.