October 06, 2021

Downtown Science - Downtown Science (1991)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: Pop Rap
Label Number: CK 47092

© 1991 Def Jam Records
Downtown Science is not merely an important hip-hop footnote on account of its biracial makeup, which was at the time virtually unprecedented in the rap community, nor is it merely a worthy one-shot wonder from one of genre's most fecund eras; rather it is a shamefully neglected masterwork as forceful and hard-hitting as the albums Public Enemy was making during the same period. In fact, Bosco Money, Downtown Science's wordsmith, is every bit as conscientious and commanding, if not quite as steely and polemical, as Chuck D. (And, as if in homage, the duo does a fine job absorbing the chaotic, kitchen-sink production style of the Bomb Squad on the tensile "Delta Sigma.") His rhyming style is extremely cerebral and exists on a cutting edge off of which few rappers have had the daring to dangle since, and always with a disarming stoicism that injects his words with even more authority, in both a moral and aesthetic regard. Sam Sever, fresh off acclaimed work with 3rd Bass, displayed here the reason that his production skills were in such demand at the time. Even with several nods to rap's past, he steers clear of overused samples and beats, and each track, in addition to providing a backdrop for Bosco Money's meticulous rhymes, is quite forward-looking in its own right. Years before RZA or El-P carved out distinctive sonic niches with their claustrophobic, bloodshot, alien atmospheres, Sam Sever laid down jittery, paranoid sci-fi landscapes on brilliant songs like "This Is a Visit," "Radioactive," and "Room to Breathe." But the duo also broke it down old-school style on "Somethin' Spankin' New," and they spin off some sweaty urban funk with "Down to a Science" and the Big Daddy Kane-like "Keep It On." The role-playing single "If I Was" made a brief appearance on urban play lists; otherwise, Downtown Science somehow failed to make much of a dent, and was promptly forgotten. But fans of visionary rap would do themselves a favor in tracking down this gem.

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tags: downtown science, downtown science album, 1991, flac,