Mikal and Julio Down by the Schoolyard

Thursdays are made for quality upbeat hip hop and it just so happens, thepaintedman brings the thunder… courtesy of Mr. Mikal kHill’s hip hop crew and the duo of Fisch (yes, that Fisch) and Ebay Jamil.

Let’s start with the latest ThoughtCriminals hotness…

[rating:7/10]

Still Standing marked a name and lineup change for the former band/hip hop crew dubbed The ThoughtCriminals. Now, Mikal kHill & the ThoughtCriminals, the name change is not to drastic, but the departure of some key members highlights a marked focus on the artistic direction of Mr. Michael Kermit Hill aka Mikal kHill. The 5 song EP is strong start to finish, minus one track thepaintedman simply can’t get into… but we’ll get to that in a moment.

The opening track immediately puts the video game influence in the forefront. “Radical Ish” is a solid track with a driving rock roll beat and fast paced, well delivered lyrics. The chorus, however, does not use the term “ish” as does the title. Naughty naughty… and Mikal is a daddy, so he needs to know better.

In all seriousness, though. The opener, along with “Warp Zone” and “Roll for Initiative” deliver the upbeat, straight ahead rock laden hip hop that I love about this act. “God vs. Playstation” slows it down, but the well sung chorus and the beautiful piano playing carry the track well enough to let this reviewer look past the lack of the sound truly craved.

“We” on the other hand is probably track by The ThoughtCriminals, current or previous lineup, that thepaintedman likes the least. It’s not in any way unbearable, but something about it just sounds a bit off.

All said and done, another quality outing for Mikal and the gang, well worth checking out. Meatloaf said that 2 out of 3 ain’t bad… and on Still Standing, the crew knocks 4 out of 5 out of the park, so you be the judge.

Then of course, there’s Julio Child

“Who is Julio Child?” you ask.

“You don’t know?” thepaintedman responds in disgust.

“Neither did you until a few weeks ago.” You retort… and thepaintedman concedes.

[rating:7.5/10]

The introductory track, “Julitro”, was the first this reviewer had ever heard the name Ebay Jamil. Google reveals that Ebay Jamil Hamilton is the man, myth, and legend, known to the friendly folks in Utah as the “Slammy” award winning soul and hip hop that is simply “Dope”. The music director of Salt Lake City’s KRCL, pioneer in the Salt Lake hip hop community, and well known face in Utah, unfortunately many on the East Coast have yet to truly experience this former 13 year old public radio wunderkind’s musical stylings.

Thanks to Fisch’s mighty mighty teamup with Ebay, Mr. Hamilton is no longer an unknown in these there parts. The 12 track LP entitled Cocinado con Julio Child (Cooking with…) features 9 killer tunes, two interludes, and the aforementioned intro. A great listen beginning to end, each track has its own vibe and feel… its own life. The two artists meld their voices, styles, and loves A few of thepaintedman’s favorites:

“Activacion” has one of the funkiest basslines this side of Bootsy driving the track. A catchy chorus that boasts, “People come and people go, but there’s no one quite like Julio”, makes it impossible to sit still and be quiet. You will dance. You will sing along. Something about this track feels quite “old school”, but whether that’s on point or not matters not. This is a great song.

“Remember to Breathe” is a D’Angelo-esque smooth soul track. “French Loop” is a great interlude track with great samples and loops (ala Fisch’s Fisch Loops). “La Gente en tu Barrio” again evokes elements of George Clinton, though this time not specifically due to a sick bassline, but rather due to the overall fell of the track.

The closer, “If Someone Should Ask” is one of the strongest tracks on the album. A simple backdrop of keys and drums, the vocal flow and hook are what reels the listener in. A great example of how the two emcees compliment each others’ styles, this is another track that should have you bouncing.

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~ by thepaintedman on December 16, 2010.

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