Hip-hop artists have a knack for creating brands around groups and labels. Examples include Wu-Tang, Bad Boy, Roc-A-Fella, G-Unit, and Young Money. These brands are usually built around a philosophy or lifestyle and its accompanying visual style and slang lexicon. On their new album The ONE…COHESIVE, Alabama duo G-Side illuminate the principles of their Slow Motion Soundz imprint.
According to their about page, Slow Motion Soundz is “an entertainment research and development company based out of Huntsville, Alabama.” Founders Codie G and Cory Parham avoid the word “label;” they prefer “incubator.” Slow Motion is at the forefront of Hunstville’s burgeoning hip-hop scene and ST 2 Lettaz and Yung Clova comprise SMS’ marquee group G-Side. The dominant tenet of the SMS philosophy is unity. The buzzwords repeated throughout The ONE…COHESIVE are “one” and “cohesive.” It was released on 1.1.11 at 1 AM.
Despite the spiritual wisdom, familiar underdog rap themes permeate Cohesive. Clova and 2 Lettaz fathom the countless places music will take them on “How Far” and they reject mainstream success in pursuit of riches on “No Radio.” “Came Up” chronicles the trials of the struggling artist (it also has a subtle Antoine Dodson reference: “Like the Lincoln Park rapist, I’m coming through your window.”)
Tracks are reinforced by glossy elephantine beats. G-Side’s inspirational overtures sound even more inspirational when set to shimmering production provided by Block Beattaz and A-Team. Even “Pictures,” a sex anthem, sounds like a brilliant proclamation. For the most part, the musicality on Cohesive is genuine, not self-indulgent; the violin on “Came Up” and the piano on “Y U Mad” are part of an aesthetic of elegance that’s supposed to parallel SMS’ refined approach to music.
Even though Cohesive is G-Side’s fourth album, it has the tenacity of a debut. Cohesive is 2011′s first great release, but some day, it might be the point of entry to some future legacy of the Huntsville/Slow Motion Soundz brand.
Stream The ONE…COHESIVE below.