The emcee: Sareem Poems from the LA Symphony crew. The DJ: Dust of Mars ILL and Deepspace 5 fame. The project: a duo by the name of PND (which stands for Poems N Dust). For the past four years, the two artists of PND have been working on their first album together, the cleverly-titled Dirty Words. After working hard on it and shopping around to different labels, it finally saw the light of day thanks to the newer hip hop label, Humble Beast. It's available in digital and physical form, and instrumentals of the tracks are also available for purchase.
The duo got together in 2006 when Dust thought Poems would be a good emcee to rap over his beats. Turns out it was a good decision. As usual, Dust's beats are some of the best in the game, with terrific-sounding beats comprised of real instruments. Opening track "Power to the People" has one of the hottest beats on the album. It's very drum heavy with a lot of funk and 70s influence. In fact, there's quite a bit of 70s influence throughout Dirty Words, mixing an overall retro sound with more modern style beats. "Lonestar" acts as the album's first single. The music features some jazzy piano and soulful guitars and female vocal samples in the hook. Dust also mixes some retro, disco-esque style strings with something similar to a Jay-Z track in "Dig Deep." The beat here is a little odd, coming to a stop on numerous occasions during the track, but when it's going full steam, it's very well-produced. Also, some of the piano doesn't feel like it works too well, but that aside, it's quality Dust production. Even with minor nuances like that, it's very hard to be disappointed in Dust's beats.
Hip hop fans who were already fans of Poems or LA Symphony can turn on Dirty Words and jam to the flow almost instantly. Those who are more on the Deepspace 5 side of the spectrum, such as myself, may need at least one listen-through to get accustomed to Poems' style. It's still a genuine hip hop flow, but LA Symphony's crewmembers have always had slightly different overall styles than their Deepspace 5 brethren. I guess you could describe Poems as a little harder than what you normally hear over Dust beats. To reference "Power to the People" again, he's got a tight flow going, yet it also almost sounds a little chaotic. However, the further into the track you go, the more you can hear the structure. It's just his harder style of rapping that makes it seem chaotic at first. Poems also shines in tracks like "Listen Up," "Lonestar" and "Shine." He does have some weaker moments, such as the more laid back "If You Wanna Know." It's more of a poem set to a hip hop beat than anything else and it takes some time to fully appreciate it. However, I think the beauty of the song lies more in the message of the song. It suggests talking to people directly instead of getting your information about people from other sources - as opposed to the flow.
Admittedly, the combination of Sareem Poems and Dust is not something I would have ever imagined. But the result of putting the two together is a high quality hip hop release that hip hop fans should get their hands on. It's also nice to see unity amongst different hip hop crews. Of course, it does feel a bit more like a Deepspace 5 album than a joint effort due to guest appearances by DS5's Sev Statik and Manchild in "Listen Up" and "Fly," respectively. But there's also an appearance by Speech (formerly of 90s hip hop group Arrested Development) in the song "Change." Dirty Words comes highly recommended to fans of either of these artists' crews, and even hip hop fans in general. I really hope PND isn't a one-album project. And I also hope that it's not another four years before we hear more.- Review date: 10/25/10, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Humble Beast. Records
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