Vermont? Well ok…if you say so.
This is what I was thinking as I read background info on the Brooklyn-born, Vermont-based promoter-turned-emcee, BURNTmd, who just released his debut EP (April 20) – Let’s Get Ill- on his new label, GTD Entertainment.
The project is engaging from start to finish, and BURNTmd manages to avoid sounding like anyone else- quite an accomplishment given the over-saturation of the hip hop market these days. It’s also obvious a lot of time and consideration went into picking the guest artists, which include: Phil The Agony, DJ Green Lantern, Copywrite, Akrobatik, Planet Asia, Strong Arm Steady’s and Krondon.
No doubt, good guest appearances make this a solid debut, but the real strength of Let’s Get Ill is the production. With input from Illmind, J.Glaze and Reef Ali, the beats run the gamut from mid-90’s style, loop-heavy swing to 70’s soul groove…also quite an accomplishment given rap seems to be recycling the same three beats all over the radio. The variety is ear-pleasing. “Ill Words” (feat. Copywrite) has a gritty, old-school vibe, and BURNTmd takes his time and delivers each line with ease, while Copywrite shotguns his rhymes with speed and accuracy.
Hands down- my personal favorite of all 9 tracks on the EP is “Stand Back” (feat. Krondon, Phil The Agony & Planet Asia). I liked it instantly. I have to admit, I totally lost track of the lyrics cuz I was busy noddin’ my head and feelin’ the beat. I did manage to catch the hook though…”24 hours of power /7days of light rays/365 ways/ to get money/who said crime don’t pay/hey before your ass get hit wit a stray/ stand back…” It’s not often that I take my fingers off the keyboard to jig with a song, but the beat is like going to church. Definitely a classic…the break at the end is ridiculous.
“Soul Snatchers” (feat. Phil The Agony) is one of the best collabos on the project. The drums are mad fly, but then I have a thing for drums…long story. “Rap City”, a clever play on the word “rhapsody” (which is evidenced by the ethereal harp strain that loops behind the vocals) is…unique. The rhymes don’t quite match the music, but I can appreciate the effort.
“Microphone Doctor” could easily have been on the soundtrack of any Pam Grier, 1970’s blacksploitation film, although I’m imagining it would have been good for “Shaft” as well. Good stuff. “Stand The Rain” (feat. Akrobatik)poses a lot of very good questions about real life, and offers some perspective on perseverance…”it’s like I’m under attack though/ government at the front door/nosy neighbors at the back door/bill collector at the side door/which do you choose when you got a family to provide for?”
The East Coast influence on the project is undeniable; as overall, Let’s Get Ill has a sort of Wu Tangy feel to it, but with less clang and far less choppiness. My conclusion is that Vermont now has more to brag about than Ben & Jerry’s.