By JASON PRICE
It is no secret that Seattle, Washington has given birth to many great things. It is afterall the city that gave birth to both Starbucks and launched an entire movement in the music scene known as ‘Grunge.’ There is no denying that there is a wealth of creativity in that region that lends itself to every facet of American culture. Nowadays, there is a Starbucks on practically every corner, a Nirvana CD in everyone’s collection and as far as we know, the Sasquatch remains at large. There is something new brewing in Seattle these days and it isn’t just the coffee.
Outtasite (aka Mike Singleton) is the protege of 90’s hitmaker, Sir-Mix-A-Lot. His new record, Careful What You Wish For…, is the first full length release on Mix-A-Lot’s Rhyme Cartel label. Outtasite may be new to the label, but he is not new to the game. He got his start in the early 90’s as a rap vocalist doing shows throughout the Pacific Northwest. Over the years, Outtasite has honed his lyrical skills and collaborated with some of the premiere talent in the region. He has continued to evolve his style from strictly hip-hop sound with a powerful beat/riff driven, rock infused style.
There is more to this album than meets the eye. A simple description would lead you to believe that it is just another “rap rock”, “rap core” or “nu-metal” album. Simply put, those descriptions would short change an album that is more than just a mash up of two genres. Handling the guitar duties on this album is the extremely talented, Joel D. Davila. This dynamic duo first collaborated on Outtasite’s debut album, Right Side Down. Davila’s guitar artistry once again plays well against Outtasite’s versatile and impressive rhyme style. Both the “rock” and “hip-hop” sides take on a life of their own in several points in the record. It is that combination of the project’s genre jumping and hybrid nature is what makes it so sonically interesting to me. “Pass It Around”, provides a powerful opening to the record and sets the stage for what the listener is about to experience. Another standout track is “Witness The Prosecution” with its heavier rock overtones that bring to mind the collaborations featured on the hard-hitting Judgment Night soundtrack in the earlier 90’s. Sir-Mix-A-Lot, who shared production duties on the album even makes an appearance on the track “Leaders/Lead Us” which shows us that not only can Outtasite rock you, he can also make you think.
In a nutshell, Outtasite’s new record is definitely eclectic, ear-pleasing and a welcome change from today’s dime a dozen, “ringtone rappers” which have been saturating the airwaves. Outtasite’s lyrical skills, solid beats coupled with Davila’s axemanship seems like the start of a solid recipe for continued success.
THE VERDICT: 4/5
Jason Price founded the mighty Icon Vs. Icon more than a decade ago. Along the way, he’s assembled an amazing group of like-minded individuals to spread the word on some of the most unique people and projects on the pop culture landscape.