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The best kept secret in music


"The duo of Mr. Fantastik and Slim Pikins have released "Euphonics" hoping that their blend of hip-hop jazz, funk, and soul bring them the same levels of success as a group they're often sonically compared to -A Tribe Called Quest"

Try listing successful Hiphop artists from Harlem, New York, and you'll start to run out of names after Big L, Mase, and Cam'ron. Well, now Euphon have tossed their hat in the arena, aiming to make a name for themselves and rep East Harlem and the ideals of true Hiphop to the fullest while doing so. The duo of Mr Fantastik and Slim Pikins have released "Euphonics"hoping that their blend of Hiphop, jazz, funk, and soul bring them the same levels of success as a group they're often sonically compared to - A Tribe Called Quest.

The first thing that strikes you about this release is its brevity - trimming off the intro and outro skit, it weighs in at a rather skimpy 8 tracks long. Perhaps its better to speak of this from now on as an EP rather than an LP... but then maybe 8 nice tracks standing alone is better than 8 nice tracks sandwiched by 8 servings of hot filler. Lets take a taste...

I feel its always important to start an album off with a hot track - obviously Euphon feel the same way as 'Mongo Slade' is sizzling. In addition to laying down rhymes, Slim Pikins' production mixture of rising melodic strings, wah-wah guitars, and snippets of 'Lets Do It Again' flying in and out of the chorus, definitely illustrates that he's nice on the boards. Over a beat like this, it'd be hard not to be feeling an emcee who flows well, and the Euphon duo definitely ride the rhythm perfectly.

This is quickly followed by the rhumba vibe of 'Live From Machito Sq.', an infectious little party number that instantly gets your neck to snappin', before 'Member' goes all retrospective on us. Emcee Trick #2367826 is of course making sure that your album carries at least one track that sees the artist(s) looking back at their past with happy memories, and often wishing that they could bring things back to those feelgood times. 'Member' sees Euphon attempting this trick, and pulling it off surprisingly well - the usual thoughts are here - "Hiphop was better", "as kids we had fun doing x, y, z", "television was doper then", "moms used to do <insert loving task here>", but somehow with the warm jazzy beat behind them, Fantasik and Pikins manage to avoid their verbals falling into tired-and-played-out territory...

"'Member when you actually did what your momma told ya?
When you couldn't understand until you got older?
I 'member the Smurfs, Pro-Keds, and Donkey Kong,
'Member when I heard my very first Hiphop song,
I 'member the day they brought home my baby brother,
Before cancer and Newports took my grandmother."

'Unbreakable' continues the more introspective theme, again covering familiar tales, but again managing to find the balance between dope and cliched perfectly. Here Slim and Fantasik speak on their struggles to hold down regular jobs while chasing a Hiphop dream, and all this over a Kanye West-styled sped up sample from Barbera Streisand. Its jacked to perfection though, and makes the perfect hook.

After setting such a high standard so far, its not hard to fight the feeling that a fall of sorts must be due. Unfortunately, 'Dreamchasers' does see Euophon take a little stumble. It has the basis of a good track - the classical music sample is tight, but somehow when the shuffly drum track is laid over the top things suddenly start to sound a little off. In addition the chorus is more than a little irritating, with a bad Kool Keith impression grating on the nerves (think "I don't neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed" - seasoned vets will know what I'm talking about.)

Luckily its only a temporary slip though, as 'Hot Commodity' and 'Raiders Of The Lost Art' pull things back onto a more even keel. The former track is classic Hiphop music - a kicking drum track, and two emcees rocking the mic, as producer DS tosses piano stabs and strings into the mix. The Euphonics duo come off perfectly, "knitting words together like sweaters for Dr Huxtable", and sounding more like a cross between Jurassic 5 and PUTS and less like the more softspoken Tip and Phife duo they oft compared to. 'Raiders Of The Lost Art' reminds me of Limp Bizkit's 'All N Together Now' - its similarly paced, and the symphonic strings conjure up instant images of Mr Durst and Mr Meth rocking Primo beats. Fortunately both of the Euphon emcees come off much nicer than anything the red-capped one can force out of his little tattooed body.

Bringing the album to a conclusion, the sophisicated sounds of 'Time' usher in probably the best track on the whole caboodle. Using the same sped up hook as Young Gunz recently used for their track of the same name (First Choice's 'All I Need Is Time'), laid over a wistful piano break, this melancholic look at how everyone is affected by the passage of the clock will bring you to a temporary halt as you're struck by how deep these cats are getting...

"Like sands thru the hourglass - future, present and past,
Spanning beginning to end, and first to last,
And the evidence is not evident as it appears,
Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years,
They say it tells, and that everyone's will come,
They say it heals, and Red said it was for action,
Like it not - we all watch it, all clock it,
And no 88 mile-an-hour Delorean can stop it"

The brevity of "Euphonics" works both for Euphon and against them. The quality of the material, and the fact that there's not really any filler material on here, means that almost every song does what good Hiphop is meant to - the head keeps nodding while the emcees actually speak intelliigently to you. The flip side of this is, that it IS so good that the end comes around far too soon, leaving you wanting more, and feeling almost a little angry that these eight songs are the only look you're getting for now. Maybe this is the overall plan though - the theory of 'leaving them wanting more' definitely applies here, and fresh material from these cats would be warmly welcomed. -


Euphonics, 2003
Euphonics Redefined, 2005
Strobelight Buttondowns, single - 2005
Live From Machito Sq., single - 2005


Feeling a bit camera shy


“People have to understand what you mean when you talk about hip-hop. Hip-hop means the whole culture of the movement. When you talk about rap you have to understand that rap is part of the hip-hop culture. That means the emceeing is part of the hip-hop culture; The DJing is part of the hip-hop culture. The dressing, the languages are all part of the hip-hop culture. So is the break dancing, the b-boys and b-girls. How you act, walk, look and talk is all part of hip-hop culture. And the music is colorless. Hip-hop music is made from Black, brown, yellow, red and white. It's from whatever music that gives that grunt, that funk, that groove, that beat. That's all part of hip-hop.”
- Afrika Bambaataa

Hip-Hop has seen better days. Although Hip-Hop started out with a variety of talents and personas, and at some point, Hip-Hop lost it sense of individuality. But what makes Hip-Hop unique from any other musical genre is that in its effort to find itself, Hip-Hop is an ever-evolving entity, thus lending itself to cyclic patterns. The spice of life returns.

Euphon is ushering in a movement of quality music. Steeped in the essence of New York City’s elder statesmen and founders of the art form, the Harlem, New York-based Hip-Hop duo is made up of artist/producer Slim and MC Mr. Fantastik. Euphon’s brand of music brings about classic Hip-Hop themes and ideals all with a contemporary flair. Relying less on arrogance and more on conviction, assertiveness and a willingness to showcase vulnerability, Mr. Fan’s B-Boy flamboyant delivery only complements Slim’s quiet confidence. The group’s “Anti-Music Music” movement is one that states that a corrupted system can only be change from within.

Sonically, Euphon draws and provides inspiration from their rich blend of Hip-Hop, Jazz, Funk, and Soul influences. Their balanced, no-gimmicks approach garnered the group respect from their peers in New York’s underground Hip-Hop circuit, including Dujeous, Sub-Con, Pack FM and Jean Grae and led to a cult following. In 2002, Euphon landed a spot on MTV2’s Area 2 Tour with Moby, appearing on the singles Superbaby and Rock Wid Us featuring producer/artist DougSimpson. Those triumphs led to the duo being invited to perform at the Zulu Nation’s 30th and 31st Anniversary Celebrations in 2003 and 2004.

Described as a refreshing alternative to the cookie cutter material being released commercially, Euphon’s first official release, Euphonics (EP) was warmly received by critics and the public alike. Euphon’s re-release of the project, as a full LP is a true testament to its fans and supporters, as well as those new to the Anti-Music Music movement.

Their music, triumphs, struggles and stories resonate with an understanding of the responsibility bestowed upon them to carry on the legacy of Hip-Hop music. Euphon is Hip-Hop’s alternative.