The Aztext – Four (2013)
Artist: The Aztext
1. Press It Onto Wax
2. All I Know
3. Nor Alone
5, Atlas (ft. Wordsworth)
6. Ease U
7. Driftin Away
8. Silent Speakers
9. Just Bein Me
11. Learn To Talk III
12. Escape (ft. LC)
When you’re good…you’re good. The Aztext have been cranking out music for many years now, but it may just be now that they are hitting their stride. Four is a complete album by any set of standards. The duo that comprises The Aztext (Pro and Learic) are a unique blend of old school ideology, new school boom-bap, that is complimented with unique and interesting concepts.
The first cut, Press It Onto Wax, actually was originally featured on the Soulslicers‘ 2012 album, Boost Da Soul. The track actually made the Top 50 from last year, so it goes without saying how strongly I feel about this joint. This is where that ‘old school flair’ comes into play. In an era where everything is digital and downloadable, The Aztext are nostalgic for the vinyl so the DJs can scratch it up. The production is fun and funky and I love how the Soulslicers chop up the Lords Of The Underground sample at the end. Classic jam (yes, I used the words ‘classic’ and ‘jam’ together).
All I Know is a completely smoothed out track that’s more introspective and features some really great chemistry. Pro and Learic accomplish a feat that many artists have tried and have failed miserably at. That sing-song style. But it’s that chemistry again that they have built since their first album release all the way back in 2007 rearing it’s head again. It sounds harmonious and well blended, and two emcees play off of each other so well. It also is only helpful to have some dope production from Dub Sonata. This cut is really about an artist taking stock in how their song and lyrics can impact people’s lives. Occasionally an artist will hear directly from the fans how powerful their music is to them, and it’s hard to receive a better compliment then that.
The title track, Four, is a head knocker. The production has a definite wow factor to it. This dope moment comes courtesy of another long time collaborator, E-Train. Again, the chopping of an Alkaholiks sample on this cut is dope but when placed upon the percussion it becomes enviously ridiculous. Lyrically, these guys display a nice flows with on point. And this short few bars really is a succinct commentary on what The Aztext’s are about:
Man without a plan, man without a genre / Internet bands / Circling karma / Me without a mic? / You without a fresh breath / Y’all been gone too long / But this here’s the best yet / Pushing the envelope beyond it’s limit / Commitment intrinsic / The skills is in-finite
The last track I will speak on is the incredibly innovative Silent Speakers. It’s a story of time travel through the future of hip hop…or is it? A track of this nature is typical in my experience of listening to The Aztext music. They are great at creating unique themes with a twist. It’s a story that keeps you listening to every bar carefully to find out what’s going to happen next. It’s not often that a song can hold one’s attention based upon the story and the lyricism. Of course it does not hurt that this Soulslicer’s production is really easy on the ears.
In an era where groups or duos have become a thing of the past and artists are quick to go the solo route, The Aztext have remained together and have excelled. They are resilient. And just like an NBA basketball team where the players are kept together long enough, The Aztext chemistry is paying big dividends. Four is an anomaly. You are not going to hear another album like this in the coming weeks , months, or even years. Pro and Learic have perfected their craft together. That chemistry is accentuated by a slew of dope producers who have worked with the group previously. It is as if the four EPs they dropped last year were the practice run for the culmination of this project. If you find yourself wondering where the creative process is in the hip hop game today, you need to look no further than Four.