Seasoned professionals in the world of RAP MUSIC, the Brooklyn duo of rapper M.I. and producer DJ Cutt, prove themselves very much at the top of their game on ‘Avant Garde’. Their new album, is like a boomerang, ricocheting from twenty years ago, coming back to scoop up some more right-minded cats. Of course, there’s the boom-bap drum foundation sensibility – the main ingredient, but Constant Deviants constantly surprise on how they ice their production cake.
Tracks such as the title one, “Standards” and “It’s like That” have intricately laced melodies that gives the tracks a multidimensional dynamic. They also make for compelling listening. Subjects such as their relationship to the media (‘Side B’) a day in the life of Constant Deviants (‘It’s like That’), a setting goals and aspirations (‘Standards’), are complemented by production that conjures up a multitude of vibes and moods. The sitting on the dock of the bay, blunts and booze anthem ‘Breathin’ ‘ recalls calm, closed eyes, running through a memory bank of memorable moments. ‘Whatever You Call It’ is a jazzy ode to the Constant Deviant way of living, way of approaching things. Lovely scratching of (BDP’s ‘My Philosophy’) ‘U Know What’ rasps over an uptempo beat. ‘I’m Still Up’ is an ode to ghetto death, a life cut far too short. It’s the album’s most reflective moment. It’s also the most simplified, but effective use of drums, with a discorded xylophone mournfully criss-crossing the record’s sad lament.
Avant Garde is a street-crafted solid slab of GOLDEN ERA substance. Maintaining one foot in the past and one in the present/future, they keep their relevance because they understand their genre’s legacy, not to mention their own contribution to the art form.