Local Wire

Jelts and Idolize

The Valley's underground hip-hop scene is blooming, and the latest names to spring to production are Jelts and Idolize of the Wild Life Refuge Crew. The duo's first collaboration is full of funk, jazz, blues and pop culture samples that infuse the album with humor, drama and a sense of renewed social revolution. "Tomorrow's Last Try" kicks off as the duo's anthem, a march-like track harmonized with bouncy xylophone and the mantra "Make something out of nothing." Jelts never misses a beat on production throughout, and both artists step to the mic with a sense of purpose and passion, relaying issues from anti-materialism to condemning drug abuse. Neither MC appears on the album's best effort, "Mother Sun," an instrumental that rolls out like a dark and gothic symphonic hymnal. The beat drops with a collection of heavy violin strokes, backed by the deep chime of church bells, and then lightens with a digitalized angelic voice. The track's ups and downs have a powerful effect and beg comparisons to productions from highly touted underground producers such as RJD2 and Danger Mouse. Local artist Anglo Saxon adds his production skills to "Ignite," and "Nose Disease" features fellow Wild Life Refuge Crew member Rashenal and Chicago MC Emiliano of Move Nation. The MCs excel on slower tracks with heavy snare lines such as "Engraved Papers" and "Illiterate Times," and only falter when they try to speed things up without caution. Two remixes end the album, including one of "Illiterate" that recalls Bob Seger's "Still the Same."
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Tyler Thompson