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VURSATYL: Crooked Straights (2015)

Crooked Straights VursatylRapper Vursatyl has long demonstrated his skills and adaptability on the mic (he’s been in the game for nearly a quarter of a century) as one third of Oregon-based, Quannum Projects-affiliated Lifesavas crew and latterly as part of Californian duo Blackalicious’ stage as the latter gear up for their fourth LP. But he’s never taken the solo path – until now. Nevertheless, Crooked Straights is the name and our man’s game is ten tracks deep revealing (and revelling in) different aspects of his character at every turn over beats that range from the wonky Dilla-esque variety, to the smoothly jazzual to boom-bap, all while maintaining the sort of lyricism that first turned heads on to Lifesavas on cuts like Hellohihey.

The title track opener lays down a typically erudite brag rap (“It ain’t the Pro-Tools, the performance is Picasso/ Vato – you couldn’t lay this in a Cambodian brothel”) over trippy bass and queasy synths before switching styles completely to state-of-world musings over the smooth jazziness of If These Walls Could Talk. The ladies are catered for with Dion-featuring cut Super and love-rap Fascinating and things get utterly Dilla-ised on Jakar Abel-vehicle I Got It. What you need the LP for though is the centrepiece of the orchestral-soul-fuelled boom-bap of It’s Nothin’ and the track (and current single) that stands head and shoulders over all of the above. That’ll be Bring It To A Halt then, a huge scratch and guitar-riff-laced cut that constitutes this year’s best diss to substandard musical artistry and which will be forever remembered for its sublime hook: “Bring it to a halt – you’re wack and it’s all your fault/ Your career’s on life support.” Check the single below…
(Out now on BBE)

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