What Disco & Spence lack in production value they make up with their own character and genuine care for their music. The album, "2008.0", is a fresh diversion from the standard hip-hop fare in that the producer, Spence, strays far away from the samples and concocts a series of beats built from scratch. The rhymes--offered by both emcees--are wildly playful. While a black & white image of an exercise bicycle as the primary image of the cover art may not be the most artistic representation of the disc, it reminds us that the game isn't all about the glitz.
Disco & Spence have been doing their damn thing since high school under the name "Loose Change." They released two E.P's under that moniker. Further, the two performed their music live in Austin, TX, on numerous occasions. Disco returned to his native Berlin, Germany, while Spence recently moved to Lawrence, Kansas. Separately they continued to hone their craft before reuniting for this collaborative effort, "2008.0."
The intro, "Tough Luck," immediately makes its impact with its 90's vibe. The spacey backdrop and smashing synthetic snare kicks will remind many of the sounds of Deltron 3030. Spence feeds deeper into the golden era image by stating, "Take it back to the 90's/I'm regarded highly/Labels wanna sign me."
The introduction only sets up the album from an instrumental standpoint, leaving room for "Why Would I?" to give more perspective on their lyrical content. They admittedly rap about "love, work, life in the post 9/11 internet world, wack rappers and whatever else may come up." The emphasis is on the whatever else may come up because that is what separates them from many rappers who feel confined by concepts instead of just making enjoyable music. Spence starts off the song with a low plodding base line before it kicks into the energy-filled musical landscape it becomes. Disco delivers the first verse and his deep voice could clearly find fair comparison to Bizarre (of D-12) but he generally spits quicker. Spence's overall voice, unpredictability and way he constructs his bars feels superior. On "Why Would I?" he drops this amazingly clever verse that plays off itself masterfully:
"There's got to be a reason
Why you runnin keep on leavin'
If my ego's like a heathen
Even Stalin took a breather (inhale)
Let me catch it
I don't eat the words for breakfast
I ain't plotting things like Lenin
Don't write me 'Dear Johns' like Lennon
Been in situations
Tick Tock, Tick Tock, I am patient
But don't you keep me waiting like a patient
In the waiting room
Speaking of Johns I ain't a Legend
But my flow is effervescent
Reckon that I'm digressing..."
Spence sounds like Eminem on Prozac here, which is a good thing. This is also a good idea of the type of buffoonery that overtakes much of the EP. There is an undeniable likability to it all. Generally, the two construct very sing songy choruses for their cuts too which completes the circus feel.
"Jeans Rolled" pokes fun at the gangster-bravado of most rap you hear on the airwaves as the screwed and chopped chorus repeats the phrase "Got my jeans rolled up like Huckleberry Finn." With that, the two thoughtfully clash their hip-hop world with the commercial world most have come to know.
Minus a few missteps with "No Neon" (which is coincidentally the first song that comes up on their Myspace page) and "6 Years On," which suffer from overly emphatic, uptempo and synthetic beats that burden them to their own peril, "2008.0" is a nice eight track release. Most songs stick to a quick, concise formula, fitting nicely under three minutes time.
When albums come across my desk without a full-size jewel case and no booklet the assumption is there is no care put into the album. That is unfair. Disco & Spence do not need to impress me with a nice cover and some fancy label when they have already impressed me with their originality, the great way they compliment each other and undying devotion to true hip hop. If you give them a chance, by checking downloading this album for free on Myspace.com/DiscoandSpence, they might just impress you too.
Music Vibes: 6.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7 of 10
Originally posted: January 13, 2009