The second album from this New York City-based hip-hop trio finds them perfecting their thick rhymes and swift delivery into a catchy collection of brain twisting underground anthems. While Sweep The Leg flaunts a complex style of rap that’s not always easy to follow—especially without any lyrics printed in the liner notes—that doesn’t mean it’s inaccessible. It’s just challenging, but in the best way possible.
“Sad” is perhaps one of the easiest tracks to initially grasp, as MCs Alaska and Windnbreeze let loose their inner thoughts about lost love and broken dreams, while producer paWL lays down some beautifully morose beats. On “Think Big,” the group takes on a more upbeat tone, lyrically and musically, and suggests listeners not limit themselves in whatever endeavor they tackle.
Other songs are more difficult to discern due to the elaborate diction of the two MCs. More than a few concentrated listens are required in order to fully comprehend their flows, but this shouldn’t surprise fans of the Def Jux roster, whose label head, EL-P, disdains commonplace rhyme schemes.
Sweep The Leg overcomes any minor flaws by rewarding listeners with its willingness to confront hip-hop’s lyrical status quo. (Ira Sather-Olson)
Hangar 18 plays the Badlander Thursday, Nov. 15, at 9 PM with Glue and Locke. $7.