Roc Marciano made a lot of noise in 2010, with his critically acclaimed album, Marcberg, which sounded like New York hip hop of the mid-90s. Bluff, Element, and Scoobs of the Los Angeles based trio, Custom Made, have found success in their nostalgic new album, Hi-Def.The Left Coast underground vets rap over top notch sample based- production, where the three emcees deliver excellent lyrics that are a mixture of hard-core gun talk and street consciousness that are influenced by West Coast legends like Ice Cube. On the DJ Premier-sounding, “Hip-Hop,” the former Rawkus 50 lyricists trade rapid-fire flows over a string-heavy beat. While on “LA Steeze” they pay homage to their hometown over a funky bass-line that Dr. Dre wishes he had for Detox.
Custom Made does an excellent job of covering social topics without sounding overly preachy. “Picture Me Rollin” is a track about the prominent drug problem. And “Crime Life” features a smooth beat where the three rappers tell stories about the struggles of living as a criminal. The album closer, “Easy on Yourself” is also the best track on the fantastic record. It has a very laid-back West Coast vibe that one would expect on a Murs & 9th Wonder track.
Custom Made does not do anything all that complicated on Hi-Def, but they didn’t need to. In a year full of albums that tested the boundaries of hip hop, experimenting with different styles, C-Made found great success in sticking with the basics. Like Phonte said, “Dope beat, dope rhymes, what more do ya’ll want?”