Steady Rhymes and Ready-for-“Prime Time” Beats
|By Amir Said (Sa’id)|
Listen to enough “mainstream” hip hop/rap (not all of it’s bad, by the way), and you just might buy the nonsense that hip hop/rap is dead, or has been dying. However, those who embrace and are in the hunt for new music know damn well there is a lot of explosive, enigmatic, experimental, and just otherwise dope hip hop/rap music floating all around. Such is the case with J Dante and Man Mantis (Worldaround Records).
On their 5 cut EP, Whole New World, J Dante (rhymer) and Man Mantis (beatmaker) stew up a refreshingly easy-to-listen-to collection of music. Part art-house, part philosophical, part just plane dope ass sample flips, Whole New World is a quality music teaser that does exactly what an EP is supposed to do: invite you; engage you; and of course, make enough word-of-mouth noise to warrant a full length send-up. On Whole New World, J Dante and Man Mantis summon various hip hop/rap influences (notably Little Brother in their prime, Kanye West pre Graduation, and even Outkast), but they standout precisely because they build upon their influences, earnestly working to carve out and maintain their own sound (and vibe) identity.
J Dante’s rhymes are carefully (patiently) delivered; he’s comfortable with his rhyme flow, not concerned with trying to overstate and/or “gimmick up” his voice. Instead, his rhymes are steady, relaxed, and certain. On the beats, Man Mantis builds out five quality stated joints that take on a slightly different style, texture, and characteristic while adhering to an overall unique sound composite—exactly what you want out of beatmaker who handles ALL of the beatwork on a project.
Listen to music long enough, and you’ll drop an array reactions. From everything like, “this shit is dope;” to “this shit is whack;” to “it’s all right—needs garlic.” But that’ cool, because that’s the journey of music. You never know what you’re going to get at the next stop. So fortunately, my arrival at J Dante and Man Mantis’ music has been more than worth the travel time.Articles, Beatmaking, BeatTips Pick of the Week, Dope Music, Music Business, Music Education, Music Reviews, MusicStudy, Sound Design, The Art of Rapping, The Art of Sampling, Themes, Theories, and Concepts