One of Fort Wayne’s most active hip-hop stage acts, Rhymewise37 and Scripture of Sub-Surface, have been patiently putting together their debut full length album for some time now. In the meantime we have the four-song Boombox Sampler, which to many of the “Fortresses” hip-hop scenesters is old news. If, by chance you consider yourself a hip-hop connoisseur and have yet to hear the Sampler, please carry on. To those of you who have history with Sub-Surface, you already know how important they are to both the local hip-hop scene and local music in general, so make sure one of your less informed friends reads this.
Aided by the stellar production of Andromeda’s DJ Polaris, Boombox goes down quick and easy; often sounding very similar to early-era Native Tongues output. Scripture stays playful and confident, while Rhymewise seems serious and poignant, often touching lightly on social and political issues, most specifically on “Prelude to War.” Opening with the anthem-like “Mic Wreckers,” Sub-Surface do the obligatory “this is who we are, this is what we do” introduction, announcing “mic wreckers, live from the 260 sector / providing you with live music to snap your neck to /spitting wack rhymes, get that mic cord severed /I dare you to find another crew that does it better.”
On “Wasted,” Script and Rhymewise examine the fine art of balancing passion with life obligations such as school, work, and family. Universally appealing to any artist (of any medium) who finds themselves having to consistently compromise their interests and passions with everyday life, “Wasted” is a thoughtfully written and wonderfully executed document to creative longing.
Over easily one of the best beats to ever come out of Fort Wayne, Sub-Surface loosen up on the closing track, “A Night In the Life.” Touching all the bases, Script and Wise show their storytelling skills as they take the listeners through a night on the town, at the same time efficiently documenting their differences in character. While Script drops questionable/drunken lines such as “I don’t know if it’s all these drinks I had, but in my eyes, this girl is tighter than the fag’s leather pants,” to which Wise responds, “that’s exactly why I don’t drink them alcoholic beverages / the last thing I’d ever want to see is her nakedness / lazy-eyed, three teeth, see you’re safer to stay sober/take my advice, lay off the heat.” A self-proclaimed “emceeing nerd” Rhymewise plays the passionate, ambitious role to Scripture’s often comical/loose stance, creating a healthy balance of style, substance, and accessibility.
If you’ve yet to hear The Boombox Sampler, head over to Convolution Records and pick it up; for a modest price you can own one of the purest, most popular documents of “Fortress” hip-hop. If you’re one of the lucky ones who’ve been onto Sub-Surface for some time now, keep spinning the Boombox and bugging Rhyme and Script about their full-length. And yes, keep your ear to the ground; Fort Wayne hip-hop is on the come up and Sub-Surface seem poised to lead the charge.
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