by Hobey Echlin
New Jerseys Outsidaz brings a much-needed bit of perspective to East Coast hip hop with its pared-down, percussive beats and spitting, battle-style delivery. The MC collective (which at one time included Detroits own Bizarre, now of D12 fame) never gets into the "yeaah yeaah" / "knowhatImsayin" sameness of their East Coast brethren, but instead reignite primal hip-hop fury in all its hungry, gory glory.
The opening, "Dont Look Now," rewires an action-series theme for its beat while MCs trade verses about blowing up and showing up on magazine covers, sounding more like theyre daydreaming out loud than just boasting and toasting. Similarly, "Money Money Money" is as much about not having it as, more predictably, getting paid: "Im trying to keep money" is the chorus.
The Rah Digga-featuring "Fuck YAll Niggas" is TLCs "Pigeons"-"Scrubs" debate regressing back to its Jerry Springer Too-Hot-for-TV roots; it wont win points for social consciousness, but it still rocks. Uticas own Eminem even shows up on "Rush Ya Clique," which shows the Outsidaz busting its own version of the Em-ones internal rhyme flow, then it pays homage (about time somebody did) to Kool Keith with the "Dr. Octagon" chorus of "Night Life."
Smart enough to make tracks that can get on the radio, but good enough that thats not all theyre for, Outsidaz is a bitch-slap to the face of all that sing-sing, bling-bling sameness.