DJ Ese – Side Two


D-Day (feat. MURS) Download
Running Man (feat. Zion-I) Download
from Side Two (2006, Embedded Music)
Buy at iTunes Music Store

DJ Ese, co-founder of Jux-lite label Embedded Music and constructor of many underground mixtapes (the Two 45 Minute Sets series), may not get name-dropped alongside other beacons of the indie hip-hop world, but his debut is the kind of hip-hop producer record that can quietly bust through ceilings and knock down doors. While still sounding squarely like your standard indie hip-hop affair (boom-bap basslines, vintage funk samples, nerd-rap cameos galore), it is well rounded. Murs’s humorous tale of a world lacking Dominican booty (“D-Day”) and L.I.F.E. Long’s celebratory “Outside” are the type of deliciously carefree stuff that the most staunch backpackers foolishly write off, while the pseudocrunk of Bisc1’s “Build And Construct” could warm some of the pickier hip-hop snobs to the joys of gettin’ dumb. A little bit too typical of the underground’s insistence on mid-’90s purity to stand out among the greats, Ese may not be the next Primo, but he’s a force nonetheless.
Paul Haney (CMJ)

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