What happens when two Michigan-based emcees come together, eat Little Caesar’s Hot-N-Ready pizzas, drink Miller High Life. wear masks of Tom Waits and Bootsy Collins and then decide to make some music? Well, you’d have Passalacqua, a duo comprised of Mister and Blaksmith (1/4 of the hip-hop/spoken word collective, Cold Men Young). As a result of this pairing, we, the listener, are on the receiving end of a six-song EP with production from Dr. B and some additional vocals from Alicia Martin and James Linck of House Phone. Even though I mentioned the above brands under my own volition, I’m secretly hoping that I get a case of the “Champagne of Beers” shipped directly to my door. It’s highly unlikely, but I suppose a fella can dream, right? However the EP does start with a track named after the pineapple flavor of a notable brand of pop.

“Passalacqua” opens with “Pineapple Faygo” and “Bad Grammar.” The former starts with some slow brass before being backed up by a drum break and finally the impressive lyrics. We find the guys being resistant to any pressure to be that suave, ladies man-type of dude. The aren’t pressed at all, in fact, Mister proclaims “I don’t see myself working on my whispering” and Blak says that he’d rather spend time giving her the “death stroke” instead of all the other bullshit. Well said, sirs. In the end, all the guys really want to do is get high and drink a pineapple Faygo. “Bad Grammar” is all about “keepin’ it movin” and not spending the time and energy on things and people that are better off left alone. “Tom and Bootsy” finds Mister and Blak undertaking the roles of Tom Waits and Bootsy Collins on the high-paced, string-heavy track, as they rap:

Mister: “Fallin’ down to cold, cold ground on foggy nights
In towns with no cheer beside my broken bike
Anywhere I lay my head, go an’ call my home
But please wake me if that girl from Istanbul’s on the phone
Lonesome towns need a new coat of paint
Call me small change, waiting for the one that got away
Down there by the train, might face a little rain
That’s the way the gravy stains, no complaints”

Blak: “Stretching out it a rubberband
If 6 was 9, I’d be a stubborn man
Pinocchio Theory
I get vocal so hear me, watch me body slam
Those talking loud
But ain’t saying nothing on Kevin Nottingham
Yabba Dabba rappers
I’m on another frequency
Naughty and nasty with audio classics
I’m a, star in these glasses
Haughty but passive
Wind me up

The second half of things kicks off with “Footprints,” a tale of two people seemingly always on the go as they try to find meaning in the world. The first verse by Mister deals with a girl who never seems to get settled wherever she’s living and only seems to make enough money to be broke at the end of the day, a situation I’m sure many people can undoubtedly relate to. Blak’s verse focuses on a guy who’s working himself to death, surviving on coffee and what I’m assuming is luncheon meats. From time to time he smokes and has a drink, which seems to make everything better, or at least tolerable. The title track and “Been A Minute” bring this project to a close. If these six tracks weren’t enough, the duo recently dropped another track, “Words With Friends” about two weeks ago and you can find it on their website for free download. I didn’t know what to expect coming into the EP. I was familiar with Blak because of his work with Cold Men Young, but not Mister. I found the EP to be a pleasurable listen and the two emcees mesh well together. I look forward to hearing more material from them moving forward as I sip on a Faygo of my own. I prefer peach though.

Passalacqua :: Passalacqua
8Overall Score