Can’t ever really get enough good summer music. If you need to pad your playlists, Brother Reade–a group consisting of rapper Jimmy Jamz and producer Bobby Evans–is happy to oblige. I spent many hours with their debut album, the bluntly titled Rap Music, three years ago and it has stuck with me as one of the under the radar bright spots of the last half decade (if Def Jux had been the tastemaking indie powerhouse when this album was released that they were circa 2001-2003, Brother Reade would have a place at the Paid Dues tour and would be satisfying backpackers nation wide). Rap Music consists largely of smooth, buoyant everyman anthems reminiscent of songs by Ugly Duckling and Lexicon, to turn of the century critical darlings staunch purveyors of the lighter side of rap. “Like Duh” and “Life Ain’t Easy for Y’all” slide comfortably into the mold set by these two groups, providing an anthem for those ballin’ on a budget and those who need a bit of inspiration to git up git out and git something, respectively. Jamz’ elastic flow bounces amusing, sharp observations across Evans’ gurgling electronics, keys and bumping bass.
“Like Duh” – Brother Reade
“Life Ain’t Easy for Y’all” – Brother Reade
But, of course, we can’t just keep it light and easy here, because I’m a jerk and I spent one too many summers alternating bass heavy magic with Alice in Chains songs. Blame the bus fumes in NY.
Well-considered fun fare aside, Brother Reade show an ability to craft songs that skillfully dive into obtuse territory in both sound and content. “Man of Steel” presents a suitably dark, epic beat married with a first person narrative that details the exploits of a mighty figure–the devil? God? an immortal? some abstracted representation of man as a whole? It isn’t entirely clear (or maybe I haven’t spent enough time with the song), but a few listens to “Man of Steel” give the impression that Jamz and Evans are capable of executing conceptual pieces as well as songs that sounds nice pumping out of a car stereo in 90 degree weather.
“Man of Steel” – Brother Reade
Used copies available starting at $1.94 (!!) at Amazon. Well worth picking up.