SummaryReSERVED Records seems to have a knack for selecting dynamic MC/producer duos. First, it was the exceptional and outstanding Analog(ue) Tape Dispenser and SKECH185's 2011 Fatbeats distributed release New Age Middle Finger. Now, it is Champaign, Illinois' MadC (MC) and I2K (producer). As a wordsmith, MadC, barely in his twenties, wields the tongue with the precision of a spectacular samurai seasoned by centuries of war and discipline. A part of the Midwest burgeoning power collective Dojo Dungeon, MadC brings a style of MCeing reminiscent of himself and his scientific, philosophical, and aesthetic musings combined into a creative collage of an extensive vocabulary, anime references, Black history, encoded and yet simultaneously decoded lambasting of pop rap icons and culture, and more. The listener of Aesop Rock, Rob Sonic, Qwel, and El-P would vibe along with the intense and dense word pictures of MadC, with a biting urge to tell him that he has reinvented the wheel even before barely starting his career. I2K, another young producer/MC of the Dojo Dungeon collective, introduces a polished style of breakbeats and samples that is more than its face value. I2K delivers a sonic texture in every note and loop that reels the listener into a story before and after a word is spoken. His style of production is rooted in his own funky interpretations of dub, funk, and jazz, and proves worthy of his cited influences such as Common, Madlib, Flying Lotus and Lupe Fiasco (who he has had the pleasure of sharing the stage with). The project that MadC and I2K concocted sounds like the audio potion that Madvillain attempted to duplicate in their classic debut album.
el.B's forcefully grabs the listener with "Reversible Gritz," a worthy introduction into the world of MadC and I2K. In this track, MadC gives the listener an overview of the multidirectional verbiage and complex metaphors over I2K's Roots Manuva like stutter drum loop and dark funky bass, proving effortlessly that his aesthetic is off the beaten path even for those who have wandered light years past the boundary. The vintage banger "Honeycomb Glaciers" puts one in the mind of a more scientific Ghostface of Ironman, with a gallery of thought pictures that in the words of MadC are "...encompassing a bunch of things, Isosceles I tend to write." MadC's penchant to serve as a shaman with medicine for a wide sphere of listeners from geeks to regular people is evident in the potent line "I do this for the niggas collapsing megazords and even moms and them." "Nappy Velcro" illustrates this historically grounded yet evolving art that MadC and I2K emanate in the midst of a James brown sample over a piercing horn and sparse yet powerful drums, while C make the case that they "...ain't on no deep shit, just want that shit that you bump twice..." As a package, MadC and I2K demonstrate in el.B's the beginning of sonic texture rooted in the Black history of hip-hop music while using its foundation to build something that looks totally different than any single element that it consists of. el.B's is to hip-hop what Are You Experienced was to rock: a creation of the future with building blocks of the past erected in the present.