Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Electricity Showroom: Hollyweerd's new year's resolve

Posted By on Tue, Jan 6, 2009 at 9:06 PM

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Download Hollyweerd's new mixtape: Electricity Showroom

I must admit, I'm one of those people who felt ambivalent about Hollyweerd a year ago for some of the same reasons that were expressed on Crib Notes and elsewhere at the time. Their eclectic combination of MCs the Dreamer, Tuki, the Love Crusader, and sax man Staggo Lee was dope, as was that irrestibly pop-worthy track "Have You Ever Made Love to a Weirdo."

But the stage show was a bit throwed-off; they lacked cohesion and seemed as if they were still trying to figure out their respective roles. As I'm sure they were since the underground super group was barely a couple of months old at the time.

"Just think a year ago we were considered music infants...," Tuki raps on "Mandatory Mandate," a standout track on the group's new mixtape, Electricity Showroom. Needless to say, the babies of Atlanta's underground new wave have come a long way.

Electricity Showroom is Hollyweerd's second mixtape released in five months. Like Edible Phat before it, Electricity expands on the group's arty collage of film clip interludes, ’80s-inspired R&B/funk, and stank-love wrapped around catchy-as-hell hooks.

If it sounds like a cheezy combo, it's supposed to — at least half the time. You get the feeling that the Dreamer lays down his vocals with his tongue firmly planted in cheek. (If Snoop Dogg got away with "Sensual Seduction," I say the Dreamer's song, "Karl Tutymer" — which sounded like a parody of Alexander O'Neal spittin' game to Cherelle — was the sleeper hit on Edible Phat.) Tuki still rhymes with that something-to-prove, nothing-to-lose attitude that gives the group its burst of edgy energy, especially live. Staggo Lee's expanded MC/spoken word/vocal role extends his jazzy vibe beyond the limitations of his alto sax. And the Love Crusader seems less like the fifth wheel than the quiet, mysterious guy in a boy band full of brashness.

They're still big flirts, attending to the ladies on such cuts as "Spend the Night pt. 2" and "All in Your Smile." But for all the OutKast comparisons they received early on, Hollyweerd's found its own HOV lane. By the sound of it, I'd say they're sandwiched somewhere between the Pharcyde and Rick James.

Hollyweerd's making fun music with more pop potential than anything coming out of Atlanta's underground rap scene right now, as their fans can attest. Even the guys seem conspicuously aware of their growing prowess on "Day N Nite (Wiimix)" when one of them raps: "’Cause in ’09/ there shouldn't be a reason why we ain't signed."

Whether or not that happens amid the current industry climate is anyone's guess, but Hollyweerd should be fun to watch in 2009, regardless — stage show and all.

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