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Feb 03, 2014

Step Brothers


Lord Steppington

“I'm a big boy, don't give me no snacks.”  

Rappers Alchemist and Evidence both have their hands solidly in the proverbial pie of hip-hop. Alchemist is Eminem's live DJ, while Evidence collaborates with rapper Rakaa (who makes an appearance on “Tomorrow”) in Dilated Peoples as well as making beats for Kanye West, Beastie Boys, and Linkin Park. Suffice it to say, these are two professional hip-hoppers making their first straight-up, honest-to-God hip-hop album together. The above quote brings an overall theme to the album: these are two men who are not in any sense newcomers in this genre, and they bring it like they know what they're doing. They're lyrical chefs, bringing you dishes of deliciousness. So put on your napkin, tuck in, and get ready for food similes.

The first track, “More Wins,” brings appetizing verses from both The Alchemist and Evidence. Evidence brings it first, sounding kind of like Snoop Dogg, flowing easy and ably. Alchemist greets new listeners, saying how it's been a “long time coming,” knowing it was only a matter of time before the two producers would find each other working on the same project. “Dr. Kimble” chugs along with haunting violin samples over the same, frightening three notes on a synth, showing just how well they can flow. “Kimble” is a salad. Now you're ready for the entrees. 

step_brothers_2.jpg(left to right, The Alchemist, Evidence) 

The sixth track, “Swimteam Rastas,” is one of the longest tracks on the whole album and puts the two rappers' voices in the spotlight. The drums and bass begin as only a small addition to the dissonant drones that occur for the first two minutes before horns bring in a more traditional, triumphant beat. But even that is not safe from the duo, suddenly changing again. Tracks like these are throughout the whole album, like little flavors and spices you didn't know existed, but these two musicians know exactly how they want their beats (not beets) to taste. Other highlights include “No Hesitation,” a highly stripped down track, putting the bell-esque bass tones front and center. It's almost strange how easy the track got me bobbing my head, its violin sample reminding me of Tyler, the Creator's 2011 hit “Yonkers.”

Even though Step Brothers need no help, they bring a veritable A-Team of guests. This album is absolutely filled to the brim with talented rappers from all across the spectrum. Action Bronson appears on “Mums in the Garage,” bringing a powerful presence with his outstanding, unique voice, making sure we are all encouraged to smoke something. The most striking (and in my opinion, best) guest verse comes from Odd Future's own Domo Genesis on the song “Byron G.” Once the MellowHigh member starts spitting, he does not stop until his bars are over, filling his verse with references to his drug use and his fame. Fashawn brings a strong presence on “Banging Sound, a sample-heavy beat bringing awkward little rhythms reminiscent of a Madvillain beat. These sudden appearances serve to solidify the album, like a little bit of dessert at the end of the meal. They're sweet little flourishes that makes the whole album feel complete.


“Step Masters” contains the chorus “We came here to blow your minds.” If their purpose was to strictly impress, they succeed by all means. There's no fat on this steak, there's only lean, mean meat. If Lord Steppington is the only album that these two people make, that would be a shame because these two guys certainl know what you’re doing. And if you're a fan of hip-hop in any way, check out Step Brothers. It’d be a shame not to.

Paul Benson