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Anti-Pop ConsortiumNow that Kool Keith has begun getting stale following his dud releases Michael and Black Elvis, the torch for originality can be passed to the Anti-Pop Consortium. This New York trio consisting of the MC's Beans, Priest and M. Sayyid are the first from the new New York underground to truly entertain. Three years in the making, their debut Tragic Epilogue is well worth the wait.

Yes, there is plenty of talent in the NY underground to be found (including the too often boring Jurassic 5) but Tragic Epilogue is the first Hip Hop disk to come out since Dr. Dooom that is simply a must have. They are not only exceptionally original, but surprisingly melodic and fun. All of the Gangsta, pimp-ho, pseudo-street, braggadocio bullshit has been stripped away in the making of this truly original disk. The influences (Dr. Octagon and the old school) are obvious, but Anti-Pop Consortium have created a sound that you have never heard before. Futuristic keyboards and samples, minimal beats, and strikingly original lyrics propel this debut to the forefront of Hip Hop innovation.

Finally, Anti-Pop have managed to take the ultra-freestyle sound found on underground labels such as Rawkus and make the showy style palatable and fun. The rhyming on this debut disk is always impressive, but the difference is this trio knows that excessive showing off only becomes, well excessive. From the minimal drone of "Lift" to the funky bass of "Laundry" there is not a track that lacks originality on this record. If you have become jaded by all the CRAP that is out there in the land of Hip Hop, be cynical no longer. Anti-Pop Consortium have arrived.

-- Robert Lanham

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