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Typical Cats

August 3, 2009


Typical? In an era of hip-hop where emcees come a dime a dozen, and originality is the point focal of many ‘underground’ consumers, do you want your group to be typical? Dwell on that thought for a minute, but don’t jump to any conclusions; these kids are here to prove to you that they ain’t no joke. Typical Cats are composed of Qwel, Qwazaar and Denizen Kane on the M-I-C, DJ Natural on production and turntables, and Kid Knish on the ‘essential spice and marination’. All five hail from Chicago Illinois, a city that has a permanent place on hip-hop’s map of freshness (trust me, it does exist). Denizen Kane is a lot more on the spoken-word / poetic tip, while Qwel and Qwazaar mostly focus on battle rhymes. The beats tend to be very jazzy and laid back. Typical….

The album kicks off with one of the best introductions I have heard in a long time, with all three emcees dropping short verses over a dope acoustic guitar loop and smooth female vocals in the back. Qwazaar states it best with “This here is for all the cats who is searching hard for the content, who won’t settle for the nonsense, for those whose intellect just will not accept the dumb shit / the last true few heads, willing to spend they final dollars, on they favorite hip-hop artists, no matter what the cost is / let’s start this.” This does exactly what the beginning of an album should do: introduce you to the artists without any filler material.

Simple beats are often a curse, but they don’t have to be. Natural’s production on “Reinventing The Wheel”, the next track, is quite basic, but the three emcees mesh together so well over it. The message is that the Typical Cats aren’t here to restructure hip-hop, they are merely trying to improve upon its current design. The chemistry that these three emcees have together is truly remarkable; few groups can ever pull it off this well. Too often in a group one emcee will steal the spotlight from the other, but these three compliment each other’s styles nicely.

There are a few more tracks on this album which feature the entire group, and they do not disappoint. “Any Day” has a once again jazzy beat layered with flows that cannot be described. The topic of stress is covered; Qwel and Qwazaar spit nice, but Denizen speaks so well on this issue you’d swear he should be a published poet. The influence from the days of Common Sense’s “Resurrection” is very obvious on “Take A Number”, but what’s wrong with that? Influence is a lot different than emulation, and it is obvious from listening which one the Typical Cats use.

01 – Intro
02 – Reinventing the Wheel
03 – Any Day
04 – Qweloquiallisms
05 – It Won’t Stop
06 – Snake Oil
07 – Natural Causes
08 – Take a Number
09 – The Manhattan Project
10 – Too Happy for Qwel
11 – Live Forever
12 – Cliche
13 – What you Thought Hops
14 – Thin Red Line


Encoder: FHG (Guess)
Encoder settings: Constant Bit Rate 160 kbps MP3
Contains: Album Art, ID Tag [ID3v2.3 (UTF16) & ID31.1]



Chicago‘s Galapagos4 label relocated to Oakland last year and it seems that, stylistically, the Typical Cats aren‘t far behind. On their second full-length, the Windy City trio of Qwel, Qwazaar, and Denizen Kane expound spacey, sun-soaked philosophies over strutting, jazzy beats-a formula fit for the West Coast. The Midwest influence isn‘t lost on them-their flow suggests they were star pupils at the Slug School of Rapping. Smoky but unspectacular production, provided by the aptly-titled DJ Natural, augmented by a trio of live musicians, creates a comfortable cushion for this trio‘s clever verbal give-and-take, which would be at home anywhere.

01 – Can’t Save
02 – Easy Cause It Is
03 – Typical Flows
04 – No Man Island
05 – Justice Coming
06 – 12th Story
07 – The Trouble
08 – Drink Ticket
09 – Butterfly Knifes
10 – The Do
11 – The Pavement
12 – Style Wars Theory
13 – Before Before


Encoder: LAME 3.98r
Encoder settings: Variable Bit Rate -v0 (Extreme)
Contains: Album Art, ID Tag [ID3v2.3 (UTF16) & ID31.1]

One Comment leave one →
  1. Bryce Palencia permalink
    November 17, 2012 7:45 am

    Related Site

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