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On “Bangarang,” from Minneapolis based hip-hop collective Doomtree's new album, No Kings, the hook says,  “Doomtree bangarang.  All these rappers sound the same.  Beats sound the same.  Raps sound the same. Wings fan the flame, teeth with the fangs.  10 years in our lame Doomtree Bangarang.”

 Listening to the new album, that idea resonates throughout the project.  If you are the hip-hop music listener who just listens to hip-hop for the sampled head nodding and sometimes heavily produced music—Doomtree’s new album honestly isn’t for you.

With the album, the five emcee and two producers collective create a project with interesting lyrics and concepts as well as both punk and rock snares infused with hip-hop and electronic elements.  With that being said, this album is a pretty interesting effort somewhere in between the merger of Fort Minor, No Doubt and Cypress Hill—odd connection but if you listen to the project you will understand.

The album flows nicely together as a series of songs, but there are three clear highlights and the first comes from the opener, “No Way.”  The song is pretty interesting with intense bass lines that have a real punk rock edge, but the lyrics and rap on the song help to create an interesting vibe.  The entrance to “Beacon,” puts listeners in the mindset of something that perhaps Fort Minor would have done.  An interesting intro--as well as the vocals on the song--helps balance out the intensity of the production.  The drum breakdown of this song with the chorus at the 2:36 mark is pretty cool as well.  The last track on the album, “Fresh New Trash,” is the perfect note to end on, leaving listeners with a lasting impression. The beat breakdown and change helps to make this song one of the album highlights, with interesting production in addition to lyrics.

Overall, this is a pretty interesting effort that is very genre-bending in its approach.  If you are an open-minded music listener, this is an album you should check out.  However, if you’re solely into Waka Flaka, or watching The Throne, this probably won’t tickle your fancy.

-Erin Duncan