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CD REVIEW: 75 Degrees - "The Last Great Hip Hop Album"
By Gian F - 05/20/2005 - 07:35 AM EDT

Artist: Band: 75 Degrees
CD Review: Genre: Rap
Sounds Like: A Tribe Called Quest/Funkadelic
Technical Grade: 9
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10
Commercial Value: 8
Overall Talent Level: 8
Songwriting Skills: 8
Performance Skill: 9
Best Songs: The Story Of Us, Rock The Show, Fly High (The Remix), Got Your Album
Weakness: ?
CD Review: Well, well, well. What do we have here? A hip hop band from the San Francisco Bay Area with a hot CD and a story to tell.

First the story (the short version): Billboard Magazine picked the band as Critic's Choice and called the sextet the Bay Area's best kept secret. Soon after, the band received (and accepted) offers for their songs to be played on MTV, VH1, FOX, ESPN, and ESPN2. Before they knew it, they were on tour with prominent recording artists The Roots, Common, Gang Starr, Dilated Peoples, Kim Hill, and Jill Scott. Their music and performances garnered them attention from fans and industry folks alike; seemingly placing the band on the fast track to prosperity.

Then they imploded and fell apart.

It's not a shock. It happens all the time. What happens less frequently is that they pulled it back together. I'm always glad to see an aspiring music act (especially one as talented as 75 Degrees) overcome whatever obstacles that they themselves, the industry, or anyone else places in their path to become successful. This band (apparently) has done that.

Now the CD: The skillful use of hypnotic baselines, funky melodies, and inescapable choruses, makes the bulk of this project grow on you faster than a fungus in a tropical climate. Of particular note and appeal to lovers of old school r&b music, are the unexpected (if not unheard of) tight vocal arrangements that distinguish the band and conjure up memories of soul music pioneers, Funkadelic. The imminent radio hit and opening track, "The Story Of Us," documents their story with humor and unrelenting candor. It is dripping with commercial appeal and is the song to beat for the best rap track for my 2005 Muse's Muse Award.

With their intellectual and creative juices flowing on this project like water from Niagara Falls, they managed to produce tracks that are stimulating, entertaining, and serviceable to radio and club audiences alike; as evidenced in "Fly High," a track that is both banging (the remix) and avante garde (the original).

But let's get to the real question: Is this the last great hip hop album?

That's a subjective call that's open to interpretation. I will suffice it to say that it is the last great hip hop album that I reviewed in the month of May, 2005. I'm certain that they will turn up the heat a few degrees higher on their next project.

Advice: Call C.L.A. or contact me directly about finding qualified and experienced representation for yourselves so that you don't have to climb into in the "LA snake pit" alone next time.

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