REVIEW: Not The 1s’ “Why You Cryin’?”

Photobucket You may not have heard of Cuzzo D and Mawnstr, but you should. As the members of Not The 1s, they create the kind of hip-hop that seems to go out of their way to be different not only to be different, but clearly to make a point. The point is that if you don’t follow what everyone else is doing, you will be able to stick out (in a good way) for your music, not based on how much money is put into your promotional campaign.

Why You Cryin’? (Gold Robot) are two distinct guys with two distinct voices, and I say this because it seems in the last few years, when you have a crew of MC’s who try to show and celebrate their solidarity, it’s hard to tell who is who. But here, you’ll hear one MC that raps in a higher tone, not quite whiny but not quite Chali2na either. Then you have the other who drops rhymes with those low tones, and it’s hard to tell if he’s rapping to the ladies or if he’s just that low end. What does that mean? These two are having fun in rhyming over a diverse range of tracks, from tracks perfect for the dance floor to sounds that might sound at home in Oakland, then doing something that’ll sound like it came from Brooklyn. With the various samples and beats going on behind them, you might feel the kind of spirit OFWGKTA, Solesides/Quannum, Heiroglyphics, and Digital Underground offered to their fans. In fact, in terms of how the dynamic of the duo works, some of their tracks come off a bit like the D.U. offshoot group Gold Money, but with a lot more variety in how they rhyme and what those rhymes are about. There’s a lot more organization here, and just as when you think some of their humorous raps are done for the sake of just throwing out jokes, you discover that the tracks with an undeniable dance vibe are merely a way to confuse you and go “okay, wait… what… is this that I’m really listening to?” In other words, they come off with different vibes from song to song but you welcome it in because it sounds so damn good.

The question Why You Cryin’? may be asked when you realize you can’t stop feeling these sounds. Or maybe because you’re overwhelmed by how bad your music is, making you want to start from scratch. If anything, it’s fun and while some might say “this is just a bit left of center, it’s too goofy for me”, I would say take a deeper listen to hear what a lot of hip-hop is missing as of late, and that’s spontaneity. Even after multiple listens, you’ll still find something new to enjoy. Elements are definitely a throw back to arguably better times in the music, but they do it as if no one else wanted to try to dominate with movements that never lasted, it’s merely a continuation of the goodness.

(The vinyl version of Why You Cryin’?” comes in green vinyl. Only 250 copies were pressed, and you can buy it directly from Gold-Robot.com, where you’ll be able to obtain MP3’ws of it immediately after purchase. Non-vinyl junkies can buy the MP3’s along with a T-shirt as part of a bundle deal, also from Gold-Robot. If you don’t want the extras and simple want the MP3’s, you may order it from Amazon by clicking the box below or clicking here.)


Not the 1s – “You Dress Like an Asshole” (prod. by Lunice) by notthe1s

Not the 1s – “Not the 1s” (prod. by Mexicans with Guns) by notthe1s

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