Genres are so played out. There was a time when artists were designated to these restrictive little boxes that label execs and consumers constructed for them and in most cases artists stayed in the lane ascribed to them. But as these boundaries break down and more musicians take to the indie route–free of pressure to crank out a hit–these classifications have become obsolete. Enter Blu and Ta’Raach collectively known as C.R.A.C. (pronounced “crass” not “crack”) who on their debut The Piece Talks pretty much flip genre classifications on their head then, point and laugh at them.
“Buy Me Lunch” and “Love Don’t” are both perfect examples of the genre-bending music alluded to above. Not one bar is rapped on the high tempo, syrupy “Buy Me Lunch” which brings to mind thoughts of Andre 3000’s “Hey Ya.” While rapper, Blu, can be found crooning the chorus on “Love Don’t.” Not to worry though, he maintains his rep as a word-flipping fool. Blu also lays down a tightly woven introspective verse with the following: “trying to slow it down/trying to handle biz/really it’s a blessing that I ain’t got kids/but I got 11 siblings so it’s like I got kids/and really if I did in the last few years/I wasn’t handling my biz/kind of like Nas when he dropped Illmatic/and MC Serch walked away with his masters.” Partner Ta’Raach takes the abstract route rhyming freely hopping from topic to topic.
Just when you settle into the groove created thus far, The Piece Talks morphs into something different using comedic skits to bridge the transitions between moods. “Pop Dem Boyz” has Ta’Raach and Blu aggressively attacking Ta’Raach‘s (who handles all of the production on this album) looped sample and light drum work. Some memorable quotables are delivered by Ta’Raach who rhymes “Rock/Raach city is a crew full of weed and pistols/turning over trash/I didn’t mean to diss you/but if the Air Force 1 fits then it’s you.”
Half-way through, the album hits a steady stride with the high point of the album, “Mr. Big Fizz.” It’s an ode to those big willies who pop big shit but live the opposite. Both emcees take turns using slick wordplay to describe “pop ass, jive ass big wigs.” “Mr. Big Fizz” is complemented well by the lounge-like feel of “Chill” which then flows seamlessly into “Hello?!” From here, the album coasts until its conclusion.
The Piece Talks definitely provides you with an assortment of moods and sounds which is good in that you get mad variety. But that also means if you latch on to one particular sound you’ll be disappointed by the end since this musical journey hardly visits one destination more than once. Regardless, The Piece Talks is the type of humorous, fun record that’s missing from Hip Hop right now reminiscent of the feel you’d get on a De La Soul record. The album is a drastic departure from both emcees’ solo work so if you’re looking for the next Below the Heavens exit left. But if you’re looking for something dope that’s in total contrast to what you’ll find on the pop charts The Piece Talks is definitely worth checking out.