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Dichotomy B - Click to view!I aimed low this past Christmas. No big requests. Socks, underwear, guitar strings, a few books I needed for school, a strap for my acoustic axe, an XBox. Practical stuff. Stuff you can't go without.

I didn't get the XBox (which is a good thing, because I have exactly zero time to mess with stuff like that) but almost every one of my CD requests was fulfilled. My collection grew by about five albums—Derek Webb and Hawk Nelson met the fam. Welcome to Diverse City joined its little brother Momentum. And big sis (my big sis, that is) endowed me with my first formal introduction to some un-dirty from The Dirty. Home hippity hop cookin' that sticks to your craw like the grandma's chicken dumplings.

Coffee. Bone. Them Tennessee Bwoys. Grits. Don't act like you don't know.

It would be way cooler for me to say right now that I copied Dichotomy A and B to an iPod and let this review flow from there, but I'm going to play it straight and not violate one of the thou shalt nots.

I'm way too cheap to buy one of those things. I own a mini-disc player.

So when I heard B's haunting opening choral riffs, it was on one of those things. When I contorted my way-too-white-for-this body—Elaine Benes-like—to the following cut, it was not with those distinctive white earbuds in my head. And when I blurted "Let me get a hit of that whatchacallit," in sync with "Saved Soul," Apple still didn't have any of my money.

Regardless, as I fumbled for words to describe (most of) this album, "brilliant" seemed most apt.

It's true that both Dichotomy albums are a bit derivative, but hip-hop itself has always adhered to the Sonicflood school of music making anyway, and B is a tour de force nonetheless.

Apart from the campy single "We Don't Play," I loved this album from start to finish. The Gatling gun-like delivery of both Grits emcees is such that I won't—can't— try to tell you even in general terms what most of the songs are about, but the flows fit the beats tighter than Spandex fits Tobey Macguire so it doesn't really matter. If only in terms of velocity, Stacey Jones and Teron Carter rival Big Boi, Dre3000 (two obvious influences) and Twista as the best quick-spit emcees in the game today.

Production help comes from a variety of sources, with DJ Form and Otto Price making the most sizeable contributions, but even the beats I don't like that much are technically quite good. The emcees co-produced every track and take all the credit for "If I..." and "Windows," both of which are strong cuts.

It's hard to say the same thing about the first half of Dichotomy, but part two is a giant leap forward for holy hip-hop. Existing or upcoming albums from the Tunnel Rats crew and marsILL have and will continue to push the envelope as well, but Dichotomy B is the benchmark. It's nothing short of a classic.
- Ben Forrest
March 2005
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