Yes, they still exist. People who do it for the love of the artform. Cats write and produce all of their music, and do it the way they want to. It's always encouraging to see this, and even more so when the people doing it are legiteamately talented. Enter OUTTHERE, aka The Freshest New Jeruz Resident. Throughout the album, OUTTHERE displays the ability to switch modes from B-boy style raps to introspective rhymes to Spanish influenced party tracks effortlessly. Despite the numerous moods presented on the album, one thing is consistent: tight rhymes and beats.
On the album's first track, "I Don't Know", OUTTHERE spits the chorus over nothing but drums, then the subdued, ill, multi-layered beat kicks in. OUTTHERE gives listeners a good idea about who he is and what he's about on this joint:
"True, you might believe any cat can spit a verse
Combine two rhymes, a punchline, whatever works
Good enough for comical cats or Fred Durst
Typical for baggy blue jeans and white shirts
Flippin through my various lines I find work
Ain't this a bitch, I had to burn this shit to show jerks
In the midst of making beats I deliver more than rhythm
I make jewels appear
The new word is OUTTHERE"
The polar opposite of this song may be "El Boracho", an uptempo party style track that manages not to depart from quality content. The very danceable beat switches up midway through the song to another dope melody and back to the original seamlessly; this song is an example of OUTTHERE's production ability. On the introspective tip, OUTTHERE drops perhaps the album's best track, "Travalin". The beat fits the mood to perfection, the vocal sample is a nice touch, and OUTTHERE provides a look into his life and struggles, with lines like:
"From the out looking in, they only ever wanna see the worst I've ever been
Only wanna know I gave up or gave in
Waitin for my walls to fall from crumblin
Pressure from perimeters test by shots drillin in
Killin my passion, this one or that one
The white one or the black one
Wish I had two cents for every time I got two cents
from spectators just hatin my progress"
Songs like "When I Get It", "So Why Do I", and "It's About" round out the more "B-boy" style tracks; "Ladies Got Me Open" and "Habla Ingles" are the two party tracks aside from El Boracho; while "Holdin On", "Only In It For Da Doe", and "DSDJ" are other fine examples of introspective joints. As you can see, OUTTHERE did a great job of providing songs for every mood, and none of them sound forced or unnatural. The album ends with a bang, on the posse cut "The Main Event". Fellow New Jeruz residents Incursion, Dib Dab, Mark Machete, Gambit, Mic Fight, Terrorwrist, and John Brown join OUTTHERE reppin their state and spittin some ill battle rhymes. While everyone rips their verse, John Brown steals the show:
"A rap thesaurus, I got words for you herbs
Call me Edward Norton, I smash your brain up on the curb
American History X, I flex like a quadricep
You heard these other cats but John is the hottest yet"
OUTTHERE's full length solo debut is an impressive effort, with dope cuts for every mood and mindstate. Forget about underground, forget about mainstream; if you like hip hop, you're gonna enjoy this album. OUTTHERE does not pull punches, pretend to be something he's not, or feed you bullshit on this album. It's not boring backpacker spaceship raps, it's not jiggy bling bling garbage, it's just good music period. If you're interested in picking up a copy of OUTTHERE's album, you can go to cdbaby.com, or send a money orders to Kat Klaw Productions Attention: Armando R. Diaz, P.O.Box 1282, Montclair NJ 07042.
Music Vibes: 8 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7.5 of 10
Originally posted: February 1, 2002