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OUT OF KNOWHERE (2003)
Out of Knowhere - Click to view! The intro to Out of Knowhere treats us to a conversation with Tunnel Rat members Dax, Macho and Raphi as they discuss admitting an emcee they saw perform the previous night into the TR clan. The "dude with the dreads" they refer to is 23 year old Jason Petty, a.k.a. Propaganda. The newest member of the Tunnel Rats injects some new blood into the hip-hop scene with his anticipated debut on Uprok Records.

The album kicks off with pure lyrical heat on "Keep It Live" and "I Know."
"I came to renovate that mental state / Man levitate your standards of expectation / Bringing damage to the bars / 16 to be exact / In fact it's overly impacted / With tactics that crack backs like impracticed chiropractics."

The opening two numbers contain fairly standard braggadocio about skills and the desire to be on top. These tactics are common to hip-hop culture, negotiated effectively by emcees who give homage to God. Tunnel Rat member Dokument and Props trade aggressive verses on the above average "I Know." Album producer Donovan Luke Henry brings his musical innovation to "Time and Place" and "We Are." The unique, off-time beat of "Time and Place" demonstrates Propaganda's ability to use many different deliveries. However, the crooning chorus from Kuliah is too thick and overwhelms the track. Henry's originality is shown on "We Are," featuring Sharlock Poems from LA Symphony. This track weaves delightful horn and flute samples over thumping kicks and rim shots as the emcees convey their passion for rhyming.

At his young age, Propaganda uses his songs to convey a Godly wisdom that goes beyond his years. "You Ain't Ready" calls out artists that desire to be in the spotlight but are unwilling to take a low position and serve others. "Ya Never Know" is an entertaining story about how wisdom is overshadowed by the pursuit of romantic relationships as Raphi guests as the voice of good judgment on the chorus. A humourous third verse shows Props's talent as a story teller. Fatherly advice is dispensed to emcees facing different struggles in "Keep On Singin'" Dax brings his ever improving vocals to the echoing keys and steady bass lines Henry provides.

The production on this disc is a shade above adequate. On other TR projects, Henry has used his musical talent to take tracks above and beyond basic samples. However, on this album it is the drum programming that needs improvement. The aggressive and club style songs where Propaganda excels lack the musical firepower to take them to the next level.

Out of Knowhere is a good listen for the simple fact that it is something fresh. Standout tracks include "Keep It Live," "We Are," and the laid-back "Don't Let Us Lose It" (produced by Dert). Propaganda has strong delivery, though at times he sinks into the track and becomes uninteresting. Hip-hop heads will appreciate the wisdom conveyed in the lyrics, while musicians will dig the innovation of Henry's work. However, this disc will probably run dry after repeated listens and is one the average fan should probably skip over.
- Jon Corbin
July 2003
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