"Parden me yo." With the announcement of a double release of Grits for the year 2004, speculation hit an all time high. No one was quite sure what to expect from the veteran duo, though the rumors covered everything from a straight bite of Outkast's "Speakerboxxx/Love Below" to an extension of their more recent critical darlings "The Art of Translation" and "Grammatical Revolution". After a decade in the business though, Coffee and Bonafide, the members of Grits, know their audience and how to reach them; each release in their discography has expanded their fanbase. Anybody that has followed their career knew to expect something big, something different. But, this was all before the lead single even hit the curves of radio airplay.
"Hittin' Curves", the lead representative released from "Dichotomy A" hits the listener with a sound that is somewhat new to Grits and at the same time fits nicely into their catalog of past releases. The album continues to unfold with surprises hidden around each turn. Whether it is the jazzy tracks like "Pardon Me Yo" and "Get Down" or the club banger "I Be", the laid back "Blowin' Your Mind" or the party tracks, "Sunshine" and "Bobbin' Bouncin'", Grits packs in a variety of cuts to celebrate their decade of dominance in the world of Christian hip hop. Diverse enough to avoid any direct comparisons, various tracks on Dichotomy A bring to mind the rich history of southern rap (OutKast, Goodie Mob) as well as the legacy of conscious hip hop (Tribe Called Quest, The Roots). All held together by the hot, bubblin' Grits flavor and appeal.
Featuring a number of guest appearances including Ahmad Jones (from 4th Avenue Jones), Pettidee, the girls from Out of Eden, Dichotomy A displays a rich cross section of the Christian hip hop scene. This vocal variety adds to the diverse sounds of the CD. Coffee and Bonafide's delivery are both engaging and entertaining, a true testimony to their experience and veteran talents. Lyrically, there doesn't seem to be a central theme coming through, but the songs generally encourage the listener to enjoy life and to live it purely. The lyrics also touch on the paradox of power and money in life and how it isn't all that it seems.
"Dichotamy A" will certainly turn a few heads, and turn a few preconceived notions on end. Grits hasn't necessarily broken new ground, but they've managed to tie together pieces of their past work and once again create a CD that explores and stretches without uprooting their fanbase. Energetic and gratifying, the album is an enjoyable listen that will leave you reminiscing the old times and at the same time, looking forward to November to see what the B-Side has to offer.
Suggested Listening: Grits - "Mental Releases", Boombox Titans - "A Voice In the Desert", Braille - "Shades of Grey"
Key Tracks: "Get Down", "Pardon Me Yo", "I Be"
Review Rating: 4 stars out of
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