The Aztext
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The Aztext

Burlington, Vermont, United States | INDIE

Burlington, Vermont, United States | INDIE
Band Hip Hop R&B


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Who Cares If We're Dope? Vol.2 Feature on Beatport's Top 10 Hip Hop Songs To Listen To"

Made it to #19 in the bestsellers charts and featured as one of the Top 10 Hip Hop Songs To Listen To. - Beatport

"Who Cares If We're Dope? Vol.2 Mention on"

Dope track from Vermont hip hop trio, The Aztext. “I Make Records” is off the group’s upcoming release, Who Cares If We’re Dope, which drops digitally on February 22nd. Produced by Touchphonics, reppin San Francisco. - Kevin

"Who Cares If We're Dope? Vol.2 Review in Seven Days"

Published on Seven Days (

Serial Thrillers

The Aztext don’t care if you care if they’re dope … but they are
By Dan Bolles [02.23.11]

Within the last five years, Vermont hip-hop has experienced a renaissance as ever more turntablists, MCs and dance crews attempt to graffiti the 802 on the national map. Interest in locally grown, free-range hip-hop has never been stronger. Yet the movement has blossomed with one of its most respected acts on the sidelines.

In the first half of the last decade, Vermont hip-hop was defined by a small contingent of artists, many of whom are either no longer performing (Eye Oh You), are performing in different groups (Nastee [1]) or have moved away (the Loyalists [2]). At the head of the class stood the Aztext [3], widely regarded not only as the local hip-hop band mostly likely to succeed but among Burlington acts most likely to make a national splash regardless of genre. Their 2006 debut, Haven’t You Heard? [4], was an instant local classic. Their 2007 follow-up, The Sacred Document [5], showcased even more potent wordplay and innovative production. The Aztext, it seemed, were poised for breakout success. And then … nothing.

After The Sacred Document, MCs Pro (Brian McVey) and Learic (Devon Ewalt) all but disappeared from view. As the scene they helped define matured, the Aztext were curiously absent.

Until now.

In January, the Aztext released Who Cares if We’re Dope? Volume 1 [6], the first of four EPs they plan to unveil throughout the year. Volume 2 was released on Tuesday, February 22. The Aztext collectively consider the releases as “Season 1,” à la TV shows or serial novels, with each episode helmed by a different producer. DJs E-Train and Touchphonics [7], of Vermont expats the Loyalists, produced volumes one and two, respectively.

The unconventional episode concept is a calculated reaction to the shifting dynamics of a record industry in flux. But it is also the logical byproduct of a less business-oriented personal change: The Aztext grew up.

At the height of their popularity, McVey and Ewalt were roommates, bandmates and friends, which created ancillary stresses to just making music.

“That can be a challenge to juggle,” says McVey.

After receiving promotions at their jobs — McVey, 28, is a regional sales manager for; Ewalt, 29, is a manager at Blockbuster Video in St. Albans — the duo moved in with their respective girlfriends. McVey got married last summer. In short, “real” life was moving at a faster clip than the life of the band.

“As you get older, life just gets tougher, right?” observes McVey. “Bottom line is that music started feeling like a job. It didn’t feel fun.” He expresses respect for the local hip-hop acts that have made a run at music careers. “People like BURNTmd [8], Nastee and A-Dog [9], those dudes found a way to make music that keeps them busy and survive,” McVey says. “We didn’t figure that out. We had to find a bit of a balance.”

The two decided to slow down and relieve the pressure on themselves. Then, after a lengthy layoff, the Aztext returned to the studio last year with little in mind beyond simply making some music.

“The idea was just to not force any music,” recalls McVey. “Let’s not self-impose any deadlines. Let’s make music because we really like hanging out as musicians and friends and creative minds.”

McVey concedes that the new process took longer than in the past. The Aztext also dug into their back catalog for material, another first. The songs on all four volumes of Who Cares if We’re Dope? were originally recorded within the last two years. The second “season” will feature music written within the past 10 months, as well as a new rotation of producers.

“The whole episode concept came from realizing that we had been so irrelevant for so long,” says McVey. “We were starting over.”

He reveals feeling a certain freedom in the new beginning, a sentiment reflected by the very title of the series, Who Cares if We’re Dope?

“Who are we really making music for, us or anybody else?” asks McVey. He concedes the answer is to strike a balance. After all, if music is made solely for the artist, why should anyone else care if it’s dope?

“You obviously want people to hear it,” says McVey. “But when you’re in the studio, you shouldn’t be thinking, How will people react to it?”

The beauty of the Aztext’s new concept is threefold. One, it allows them to record and release music at their own pace, without the constantly looming pressure to put out full-length albums. Two, by releasing EPs every few months, they remain relevant after the luster of a longer, single release would have faded.

The third prong of their approach is less obvious but is, artistically speaking, most important. By enlisting different talents to produce each volume, the Aztext highlight a facet of hip-hop that is largely overlooked by all but the most avid aficionados yet is crucial to every hip-hop recording: the role of the producer.

Volume 1 showcased the Loyalists’ DJ E-Train, who fleshed out the duo’s lightning-and-thunder vocal approach with classic boom-bap hip-hop beats. E-Train took a comparatively direct track, essentially redirecting the spotlight back onto the Aztext. In contrast, Touchphonics put production front and center, challenging the duo to match his arsenal of high-intensity beats.

“Producers are kind of the man behind the curtain,” says Ewalt. “And they rarely get the credit they deserve.”

“This gives them top billing,” adds McVey. “And a voice.”

The resulting EPs offer profoundly different sounds that highlight the Aztext’s nimble versatility.

“We’re telling producers not to send us 25 beats and have us pick four,” says McVey. “Instead, why not choose four beats that you want to showcase, and we’ll adapt.”

Given the uncertainty of the music industry, the willingness and ability to adapt may well determine which artists succeed. Especially if they’re dope.
- Dan Bolles for Sevendays

"Who Cares If We're Dope? Vol.2 Feature on Hip-Hop Kings"

I’d like to introduce The Aztext to Hip-Hop Kings, a Vermont-based Hip-Hop duo who have earned their stripes in the Underground Hip-Hop scene. The first single presented from The Aztext is “I Make Records” which includes an incredible sample and is a fine display of boom-bap Hip-Hop music. The track has been produced by San Francisco based “Touchphonics” and I Make Records will be featured on the forthcoming “Who Cares If We’re Dope” project which is available on February 22nd. You can listen to The Aztext – I Make Records on the audio player below. - Ryan Maxwell

"Who Cares If We're Dope? Vol.2 Feature on HipHopDX"

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This track is pretty great. The Aztexts gear for their new project by collaborating with San Fran's Touchphonics to craft a hot cut about, well, making records.
- Hiphopdx

"Who Cares If We're Dope? Vol.2 RapReviews"

When last we heard from Vermont hip-hop trio The Aztext, they had released the first of a four-EP project, "Who Cares If We're Dope?" The concept is that each of the EPs will feature a different producer, and each EP will join together like Voltron to form an album at the end of the project. Volume One featured the sample-heavy, old-school leaning producer E-Train, and The Aztext were sounding a little defensive as they tried to find their place for themselves as artists who respect the classic hip-hop sound in a contemporary landscape. For Volume Two, they've decided if you can't beat ?em, join ?em. They've teamed up with San Francisco producer Touchphonics, who provides futuristic and club-friendly beats. The boys are getting out of their comfort zone and trying on a new sound.

It starts off with the robotic "Cool Don't Exist," in with Pro and Learic trade rhymes about how they've outgrown a lot of labels that used to describe hip-hop, like fresh and def. The verses are solid, but the song gets dragged down by the hook. Things pick up with the future funk of "Doin' What I Want," in which Pro and Learic lay out their DIY attitude and their approach to music, rapping:

"Never let the tempo
To an instrumental
Be over-influential in the speed I move my pencil
Never let a rhyme scheme determine what a line mean
Say what I want without barriers"

"I Make Records" offers a stripped-down beat for the MCs to spit about their craft. "Tear the Moon Down" goes totally left-field. It has a pumped up dance beat and booming bass, the kind of track that Pitbull might be rapping over. The Aztext manage to keep up with the fast tempo, and adapt their battle rhymes to the club-rap beat.

They save the best for last, with the laid back G-funk of "Till the AM." Lyrically, it's your basic song about partying with your friends, but the snapping beat and whining synths make it the best track on the EP. It's also about being too old to party to the break of dawn, with Pro asking:

"Hate to admit
Am I jealous of a college kid
Vomiting all his gin in a garbage bin
All his friends laughing smoking on Parliaments
Arguing about which car he's gonna be driving in?
Get sick to my stomach thinking about how long it's been
Since I was sick to my stomach from partying
So tonight it's bottoms up until the dawn again
I'll be late for work
Somebody call it in"

"Who Cares If We're Dope Volume Two" is another solid entry in the series. The Aztext are testing new ground and trying out new sounds while keeping true to themselves. They manage to work with Touchphonic's club beats without sounding like they are out of their element. It doesn't feel like they are trying to appeal to a different demographic as much as challenge themselves to do something different. The results are worth a listen.

Music Vibes: 7.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7.5 of 10 - Patrick Taylor

"Who Cares If We're Dope? Vol.2 on New Releases Now"

Here's the second installment to The Aztext's first season of EP's entitled Who Cares If We're Dope? Vol.2. This time around we hear production from San Francisco's head nod king Touchphonics. The EP leads with 'I Make Records,' - 'When's the last time you heard something cover to cover!?' This is a classic tune that we will have on repeat for years to come. Chopped breaks, 808 hits, and a slow drawl convey undeniable funk. Peep the last verse that has Learic and Pro going back and forth creating lines from classic album titles that they feel you can listen to from front to back. - Vince Hans

"Who Cares If We're Dope? Vol. 1 RapReviews write up"

The Aztext are a Burlington, Vermont crew who have been making independent hip hop for the better part of a decade. It's been three years since their last release, 2007's "The Sacred Document," which was a solid album of old school, underground hip hop. Their latest album, "Who Cares If We're Dope?" is being released in four EPs, each featuring a different producer. Volume on features previous Aztext collaborator E Train.

The EP starts off with the hard-hitting "Just Like That." E Train channels 9th Wonder doing the Bomb Squad, with layers upon layers of soul samples creating a sonic collage. The Aztext lay out their mission, with Learic rapping:

"I'm on a mission to
Give hard-working people something to listen to
I simply find the best way to say the truth
Music is eternal youth
I use it as further proof
Cause we just build on what came before us
Predecessors who might have said it better
Why are we here?
We're all tired of the shit we hear"

They lay it all out in those bars. They make the kind of hip hop they grew up listening to, and use the mic to speak truth. There's no phony gangsta posturing, just honest rhymes. MCs Learic and Pro trade rhymes like Run DMC or the Beastie Boys. With their back-to-basics rhymes and E Train's crate-digging beats, its as if Puffy, Southern Rap, emo rap, or Kanye never happened. The Aztext live in an alternative universe where mic skills are more important than image, and where hip hop stayed firmly rooted in its original sound and aesthetic.

Given that context, it's interesting that "Time Is Just a Glare" uses the metaphor of hip hop as a prison, stifling creativity with its rules. "Conformed for too long/I want to move on," raps Pro. "Reinvent myself/New Artist/New Song." It's hard to tell if he's reacting against the current trends in hip hop that he wants to avoid, or the traditional sound that have become The Aztext trademark. On "Just Like That," Pro raps "Lately I'm terrified because the music doesn't speak to me," which further highlights their disconnection from the contemporary rap world.

The Aztext's response to this existential crisis of where they belong in the hip hop universe is to go as hard as they know how. "Rainy Day" sees them laying some introspective rhymes over melancholy soul, and they rap double time on "Waiting," It's the best song on the album, and not surprisingly was the track that inspired them to get back into the studio in the first place.

If you are a fan of traditional boom-bap, do yourself a favor and check out "Who Cares If We're Dope?" It's a welcome return from VT's finest.

- Patrick Taylor for

"Who Cares If We're Dope? Vol. 1 Mention in The 7 Days"

Speaking of new music, I’m excited to pass along that VT hip-hop heavyweights the Aztext have finally released the long-awaited follow-up to 2007’s The Scared Document. Or, at least, they’ve started to. Rather than release a traditional full-length, the trio is dropping its latest episodically, like a TV season. The first episode, The Aztext & E-Train: Who Cares If We’re Dope? Vol. 1 debuted Tuesday, December 7, on Elevated Press Records. Future episodes will come out every two months. And, not to spoil the review of the season premiere that will appear in these pages next week: This thing was worth the wait.

12/8/10, Seven Days
- 7 Days Newspaper


Here is a list of several other Awards and Recognitions that we are proud of...

Top 10 albums of the year - The Sacred Document

Best songs of 2007 - 'Adventures of" produced by E Train

Top 50 songs of the year 2007 - Lettin' You Know Ft . One Be Lo produced by Dub Sonata
mic-beatz Radio (Turkey)

"Vermy" for Album of the Year for Haven't You Heard?
- Burlington Free Press

Top 10 albums of Vermont - Haven't You Heard? and The Sacred Document (back to back years)
- Seven Days

URB Next 1000 - found in the printed magazine

'Who's Wit Us? ft. Krumb Snatcha produced by Dub Sonata' - placed 3rd on nation wide radio charts - Various

"Who Cares If We're Dope? Vol.1 featured on Itunes top 40 new and noteworthy Hip Hop section."

The Aztext & E-Train-'Who Cares If We're Dope? Vol.1' was recently featured on the Itunes top 40 new and noteworthy Hip Hop section. - Itunes

"URB Magazine Next 1000"

When you think of Hip Hop, you usually think of California, New York and Chicago. Now get ready to toss Vermont into the mix. You heard that right becaused coming to you all the way from Burlington is PRO, Learic and DJ Big Kat - also known as The Aztext. The trio dropped their debut Haven't You Heard, last year and it featured hip hop legends like Krumb Snatcha of the Gangstarr Foundation, Q-Unique of the Rock Steady Crew and formerly of The Arsonists, and Wordsworth of the Lyricist Lounge Show. This November they will release their second effort The Sacred Document, with production by powerhouses such as Dub Sonata, and E-Train. They will also debut their first self produced track. Who would've thought Vermont could bring it like that? - URB Magazine

"The Sacred Document LP Review"

Up for free download is The Aztext’s sophomore album ’The Sacred Document’, a hip-hop trio from Vermont. Vermont? Yep the city known for its D.O.C. cheese, trout fishing and we wouldn’t have a clue of what else. But on dodging the risk of makin you surf away from this link, we’ll try to convince you to click it.

Under the motto ’never underestimate the unknown’, the trio of MC’s Learic and Pro and DJ Big Cat, names that don’t ring a bell with most of you, is the kind of group that takes you by surprise, straight from the beginning or, when you was rolling a blunt at first, right in the middle. Either way, they take your attention like Janet at the Super Bowl, whether it’s through their secure, well-structured but yet fresh rapping (the way they alliterate with ’L’ or ’P’ in ’We Back’), vivid scratchin of well-chosen samples or the infectious, melodic boom-bap (’we’re back with another overdose of boom-bap, tracks that will blow your stereo in two, jack!’) by in-house producers such as Dub Sonata, Special Weapon, E Train or Touchphonics.

Underground heroes One Be Lo (on ’Lettin You Know’) and Mac Lethal (on ’My Kingdom’) are compatible to the sound of the album, and while their debut release from 2006 ’Haven’t You heard?’ remains mostly negatively answered (literally, in sales, and figuratively, as in an answer to the question in the album title), ’The Sacred Document’ is your and their chance to get acquainted with each other.


"Haven't You Heard LP Review"

I was a virgin to Vermont hip-hop until the Aztext popped my cherry. It might have been my proximity to the duo, but for one reason or the other, I awaited going to bed enthusiastically. The back of the cover shows the group in typical hip-hop attire, DJ equipment in hand, but instead of a NY park bench, they sit on some stylized wooden L.L. Bean structure with the New England woodland behind them. Not Staten Island, certainly not gangsta, but in itself the photo is a healthy break from the norm; when was the last time YOU caught the Montpelier hip-hop festival?

Whether or not the event exists is beyond me, but if it does, don't be shocked if the Aztext headline. Neither Pro nor Learic reinvent the punch line, nor do they enlighten crowds with thought- provoking narratives. They do excel in connecting with the rest of the rap world, crafting their sound around themes not so far from anything we've already become familiar. As such, they invite challenges they could've done without. In perfect honesty, I would've made a purchase for an Aztext t-shirt if they rapped about moose and maple syrup, but if that were the case, the funky beats and high-profile guests might not have worked.

Without ever delving too deep, Pro and Learic remain true to themselves lyrically, never peppering a generally fun album with any violent lies or drugged-out anthems. When they're on their game, they're a lock to grind out grade-A college radio head-nodders, and on the album's best tracks, that's just what they do. Krumbsnatcha guest-stars on the spellbinding boom-bap of "Who's Wit Us," but effectively illustrates anything and everything hindering the album as a whole. When the beat is bangin,' the Aztext are right at home. When it's dead, they do little to resurrect it. Where Krumbsnatcha will always have the luxury of Premier, the Aztext hope on every track for the kind of production they need. Luckily, when they get it, they know just what to do.

"Haven't You Heard" kicks off tremendously sharp with "It's True," a jazzy banger that's laid my speakers to waste for a week and change. Guest vocalist Memms lends a bit much to a classic loop that doesn't need him, but his hook is a fine assessment: "you know it's true; the music can stop you from feeling blue!" Short, sweet, and appropriate, it feels for an instant like "3 Feet High And Rising" 2006. It's 4:20 of head nodding and as fun as anything this year, but unfortunately, it holds a standard too high for the album to maintain.

"Haven't You Heard" survives, but quickly becomes congested with indirect battling, on- the-come-up monotony and crummy, simulation inspiration. In the mix is second-rate call-and- response on "When I Say," half-hearted political raps on "You Is You," and a good-as-sedated Wordsworth on the disappointingly boring title track. "Ultimate Tag Team" lazily plods along with irrelevant self glorification over a yawning beat, and "Better Act Like You Know" is a fruitless stab at a nasty Premier hook. The beats improve steadily, "Learn to Talk II" and "This Right Here" keeping things lively, but the Aztext continue to emphasize their inability to write a chorus throughout. I was really proud of my nine-year-old bro for coming up with the hook for "Reverie"

"9 to 5" sees Pro and Learic at their conceptual best, frantically and frustratingly reaching their occupational boiling points over a beat that feels like it could pop at any second. It's the most unity the raps ever achieve with their backdrops, but the track works in balancing the album's lopsidedness. Pro and Learic are both good emcees, but their vocals fail to put "Haven't You Heard" in motion when the beats can't. Rather, they compliment the bangers and each other very nicely, and even put little ol' VT on the map. It was my first time going this way, but like it or not babe, I've had better.

- Matt Tomer for

"Haven't You Heard LP Review"

What are the odds for a relatively new hip-hop act from Essex, Vermont, to reach a wider audience? Practically dismal, however talented its members might be. And yet, The Aztext have done it, thanks to their promotional method of choice - they've secured spots on several specialised radio stations.

The band was put together in 2005 by Pro, joined by Learic and DJ Big Kat. Their first album, suggestively titled Haven't You Heard?, hit the streets in may 2006, on their own AZT Records. Although seemingly debutants, the trio have several years of concerts and projects under their belts. Canadian-born Pro started his MC-ing career in 2000 in Montreal, later meeting DJ Big Kat in Burlington, Vermont, while Learic, originally from Washington, moved to Essex, Vermont, founding Subliminal Messages in 1998, followed by Elementrix, finally ending up as an Aztext member.

Breakthru was chosen to promote the album, reaching most requested track status on 92.1 Kiss FM for three weeks in a row. The lyrics embody the group's beliefs, while the beats signed by Special Weapon (another annonymous talent) instantly get people to nod their heads. The same SW Productions member expertly manipulates a piano sample, turning It's true into an optimistic 20's style jazzy joint, while Pro and Learic give proper respect to their idols. But in order to make it big, besides raw talent you must also have some kind of promotion, with the guestlist being a strong guarantee for the project's quality. This one, although short, offers a few pleasant surprises: Krumbsnatcha (Gang Starr Family member) stands besides Aztext in their attempt at self-definition - Who's With Us? - and authenticity ("Who're you? I'm Pro, flippin' dangerously / Who you be? / I'm Learic, bringing pain to beats / Who's with us? / Krumbsnatcha, Aztext it's official / This is real Hip-Hop, nothing less we gonn' give you!"). Employing Dub Sonata's production skills, Who's with us recommends itself as the second single, with a trumpet sample from Calcutta Transfer. Q-Unique, ex-Arsonists member and author of the recent Street Supreme, plays rough in The Game, while Wordsworth denounces fake MC's on the eponimously-titled track. Besides the high-profile guests, Pro and Learic also teamed up with less-known The Loyalists, consisting of two DJ's - E Train & Touchphonics and one MC - Framework. The end result is Reverie, a catchy uptempo tune about the group's efforts up to the album launch.

The love story between The Aztext and hip-hop culture slowly unfolds thrugh E Train's beats and scratches on Learn to Talk ("Thinkin'in French, speaking in English, and playin' with kids / Who did the opposite, and know what they was sayin' and shit"). The same story continues on Learn to Talk II, that portrays some defining moments of the two MC's lives and careers. The duo's on-stage experience, with names such as DMC, Brother Ali, The Arsonists, Rahzel, Swollen Members, Das EFX, The Beatnuts or Non-Phixion shines through on trachs such as Better Act Like You Know - dedicated to the entire hip-hop community, or When I Say - for which the named McVey and Ewalt match flows with Touchphonics' gritty electronic beats. Diversity is the album's main line, so that after the more serious Something to Say and You Is You, the atmosphere loosens up with 9 to 5 - a hillarious attack against everything the cubicle embodies.

Haven't You Heard? caught my attention by bringing back classic hip-hop, beats stinking of jazz, scratches or violins and vocal samples, topics as amusing as they are mundane, and not lastly, the maturity with wich the various subjects are treated. By far the best example of a practically annonymous group's debut. - DJ Strike for

"Haven't You Heard LP Review"

When you look for a good rap album, the majority doesn't normally look for a duo from Vermont that's named after a civilization that was eradicated over four centuries ago by the Spaniards down in Mexico. But that is exactly what you should be looking for. The Aztext pack fifteen tracks full of their struggles, triumphs and political agendas to make "Haven't You Heard?" the indie rap album of the year so far. It is strange listening to a two guys from Burlington, Vermont talking about the streets. It's like listening to Dr. Dre covering Barry Manilow, but it works out surprisingly well.

"It's True" the opening track (after the typical intro) interpolates a smooth jazzy beat and the silky vocals of Memms to instantly set them apart from the ho and dough rap that permeates radio and introduces Pro and Learic as two guys who are trying to make it big and hoping that kids will "hang posters of mine." If this is any indication, The Aztext could just make it huge. "Cooler than a frostbite/ Warmer than a hot night" from "Breakthru" is just one of the lines that the Aztext spit back and forth. The Aztext feed each other lines better than almost any duo this side of Eric B. and Rakim.

They also have an agenda. Help out the kids and screw George W. Bush. "Learn to read/ Learn to write/ Learn to talk" is repeated in the chorus of "Learn to Talk" where Pro and Learic chronicle their beginnings in Vermont and trying to break into the rap world dominated by "street rappers from NYC."

The anti-Bush rant is much more biting. On "You Is You," they go off on Bush and the Iraq war: "We got a crisis in the making/ Lots of lives are being taken/ I'm sorry the president had to return early from his vacation/ Where were you when they needed you?/ Oh, you can send 18-year-olds to Iraq to get killed/ But you can't protect your own red, white and blue," and his handling of the hurricanes down south: "Now two hurricanes have left the south stranded/ It's outlandish/ There's thousands of people with wounds that we can't manage." "Haven't You Heard?" is a stunning debut from two talented guys from Vermont. It's filled with strings and brass interlaced with timeless beats and unforgettable lines. If The Aztext don't catch on, then it will be further proof that popular music is not gauged on talent. I hope they prove me wrong. - Tim Wardyn

"The Sacred Document LP Review"

The Vermont hip-hop hit parade just keeps rolling. In the last six months, urban music aficionados have been treated to a slew of local releases featuring bombastic beats, killer cuts and phenomenal flow from some of the area’s best and brightest. VT Union’s Tha Mixtape, GTD’s Ill Sessions: The Album and a self-titled debut from Essex MC Matty C have set the beat-dropping bar exceptionally high in the realm of local hip-hop. But it could be argued that Burlington trio The Aztext beat all three releases to the punch with their critically acclaimed 2006 debut Haven’t You Heard? Not to be outdone — by themselves or anyone else — the B-town boys are back with a remarkable follow-up, The Sacred document&183; Hip-hop hooray, indeed.

Centered around the formidable lyrical skills of MCs Pro and Learic — with more than a little help from DJ Big Kat — The Aztext pick up where they left off on one of this newspaper’s "Top Ten Albums of the Year" in 2006 — and make a strong case for a repeat in 2007. This time around, they’ve employed the talents of some regional A-list luminaries to showcase their talents.

The deft verbal acrobatics that garnered their first disc such high praise are on full display throughout the record. In fact, it’s possible Pro and Learic are an even more dexterously dynamic duo than they were when they checked in a year ago. They’ve honed their rhyming abilities to a razor-sharp point, seamlessly flowing in and out of each other’s lines, and promptly serve notice on the album’s first full track. Aptly titled "We Back," it was produced by local hip-hop impresario Nastee of VT Union.

Nastee’s work on the song — and a few others throughout the album — highlights one of the disc’s great strengths: production. Featuring turns by some of the region’s most respected and accomplished producers, The Sacred Document sets itself apart. Dub Sonata, Special Weapon and The Loyalists’ E Train and DJ Touchphonics all take turns making beats, the result being one of the more sonically diverse local albums you’ll hear — hip-hop or otherwise. Touchphonics’ work is particularly inspired — his turntable cuts on "Rollcall" are simply sick.

The Aztext aren’t merely one of the area’s best hip-hop acts. They’re one of the best local groups, period. Catch their CD release party this Saturday at Nectar’s, hosted by E Train and with special guest performances by Double AB, Wombaticus Rex, Burnt MD and Network, The Truth and DJ Anubus.

- Dan Bolles

"The Sacred Document LP Review"

New England based hip-hop trio; PRO, Learic and DJ Big Cat, have been plying their trade in the hip-hop world for over a decade and joined forces in 2005 to form ’The Aztext’. Following on from their acclaimed 2006 debut release, ’Haven’t You Heard’, ’The Aztext’ are back to rock the hip-hop community with their varied 19 track sophomore release, ’The Sacred document&183;

’The Aztext’ have collaborated with the likes of Q-Unique, Mac Lethal and Wordsworth and have appeared alongside such notable artists as Non Phixion, Brother Ali, One Be Lo, Rahzel and KRS One amongst others. These high profile collaborations and appearances give a strong indication as to the style and quality of ’The Aztext’ and immediately place the band amongst the higher echelons of independent hip-hop’s elite. To deserve and maintain such a revered position, ’The Sacred Document’ needs to be a strong, versatile, thumping and thought-provoking release and guess what, it most certainly is. Opening with the muscular and catchy ’We Back’, the trio proceed to spit impeccable high-octane verbage over a stomping backdrop of stirring melodies and thick dragging beats. Before the listener has room to catch their breath, ’The Aztext’ drop their strongest track, ’Lettin’ You Know’ feat. One Be Lo. Covering similar territory to modern-era Jedi Mind Tricks, the band utilise thick industrial beats to prop up a beguiling, vintage sounding melody, and then destroy the track with energetic and rasping rapping which sees the trio constantly rotate their spitting to great effect. As the album proceeds, the use of vintage soul/jazz samples grows to make the tracks remarkably cohesive, unique and fresh. Take ’Couldn’t Stand the Pain’ with its 70’s summer-time bounce, ’Life of an MC’s’ sixties Bacharach groove or the funky ’Move Into Position’ which seamlessly fuses deep, industrial hip-hop beats with upbeat soul-funk.

’Roll Call’ is yet another stand out with its mutated 70’s Rhodes-fender backdrop and ultra-swift rapping which combine to create an image of driving at 100mph through a dark and foggy Gotham City in a souped up Batmobile. The spliced-up, scratch-heavy chorus is produced with real skill and when the vocalists spit "I’ll be in this rap shit until my fcuking heart stops" from the bottom of their hearts, it really speaks volumes to the listener. ’East Coast Air’ featuring Double AB and Rich Mo recalls the urban 90’s classic hardcore of Nas, Mobb Deep and Puff Daddy & Family. Utilising a skeletal and meandering wind instrumental melody over thumping beats, the trio really set the scene to the dark going’s-on in the wintry urban jungle. The lyrics convey a real sense of authenticity and on the chorus they spit "the east coast air is so chilly/so brilly/don’t be sacred, you so silly/to stay warm we smoke phillys/while we wear phat bubble goose coats with weed stashed by both kidneys". As the album reaches its closing stages, the quality does not wane. Tracks like the complexly produced percussive soundscape of ’Our Kingdom’ featuring Mac Lethal, and, the reflective, emotive quality of ’Lookin Out My Window’ are pure strength whilst the closer, ’Back 2 Basics’ is a rousing slice of old-skool hip-hop which is reminiscent of The Beastie Boys . Some of the spitting on this track is mind-blowing as the trio ride the beats with unparalleled quality.

As a bonus, three radio edits of ’Lettin You Know’, ’Roll Call’ and ’Back 2 Basics’ are included. So, all in all, ’The Aztext’ have created a 16track deep sophomore album which is brimming with phat beats, cleverly procured and utilised samples, fast and coherent spiting and a sense of real hip-hop authenticity. There are no duds or lame skits to ruin the listeners focus and the production values are pretty strong. If you looking to get one of 2007’s hottest independent hip-hop releases then check these guys out now. Support the streets.(AM) - WWW.EXPERIMUSIC.COM

"The Sacred Document LP Review"

This is the second album by Burlington, Vermont trio the Aztexts. As on their debut, "Haven’t You Heard," MCs PRO and Learic and DJ Big Kat are instilling hip hop with a healthy dose of old school sounds.

The album sounds good from back to front, with banging beats provided by Nastee, Dub Sonata, Special Weapon, E Train, and the Touchphonics. DJ Big Kat provides cutting and scratching throughout, which helps to tie all the beats together, and give the Aztexts their own sound. Most of the beats are good, and a few of them are brilliant. "We Back" starts things off with what sounds like a hip hop version of the James Bond theme, over which PRO and Learic swap lines like the Beasties or Run DMC; "Lettin’ You Know" is a moody track with pianos and strings, accentuated by Big Kat’s scratching; "Keepin’ It Live" has a jazzy groove reminiscent of A Tribe Called Quest; "Pay Attention" offers some chopped up funk, while tracks like "Lookin’ Out My Window" showcase a mellower, more introspective side of the duo.

One of the best tracks on the album is "Adventures of.." which combines a dirty, bluesy guitar lick with strings, horn stabs, and sped-up vocals. The song showcases the duo’s storytelling skills as they relay the story of a night out in a seedy bar:

"The waitress slowly approaches says can I bum a smoke
I look at PRO but we both quit a year ago
But I fear if I say no she’ll just walk away so
I take her by the elbow and say well, hon
I don’t but what do you say we both go find one?
PRO shoots me a look as if to say fine son
Have your fun, but be sure you’re ready when the time comes"

They go on to take out the fake MCs in the club with a microphone massacre like Rakim used to deliver. Eric B. and Rakim are clearly influences on the Aztext, both in their storytelling style and their battle rhyming skills. "Roll Call" even sounds like "Know the Ledge."

PRO and Learic’s verbal dexterity also looks back to the golden age of hip hop, when lyricism and verbal finesse were valued much more highly than they are today. It was this type of inventiveness and linguistic acrobatics that made me love hip hop in the first place, and I was happy to see the Aztexts carrying on the tradition. They also score some nice features, including Mac Lethal and One.Be.Lo.

My one complaint with the Aztexts is with their delivery. At times they sound forced, like they are trying too hard to sound hard. Its as if they were imitating Ghostface Killah at his most insane. Maybe it has to do with coming from an area that doesn’t have its own distinct verbal traditions to draw from, or maybe it’s a case of the MCs trying to find their own voice. To some extent itÕs a matter of taste, but there were definitely several points on this album where I was not feeling their flow.

That said, the Aztexts are a talented group who do a lot right, and they deserve recognition as a force to be reckoned with. Their beats and rhymes recall the glory days of hip hop, when dookie chains and Africa medallions were king. They are keeping the underground vibrant, and are doing Burlington VT proud.

Music Vibes: 8 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7.5 of 10
- Patrick Taylor for

"The Sacred Document LP Review"

The Aztext, das sind die Emcees Pro und Learnic zusammen mit DJ Big Kat. Nach ihrem Debüt-Album "Haven’t You Heard" machen sie sich 2007 zum zweiten Mal auf, die Flagge von Burlington, Vermont mit ihrem Sound hoch zu halten und der Welt zu zeigen, wie sich HipHop anzuhören hat. "The Sacred Document" erscheint über AZT Records und winkt mit Gästen wie One.Be.Lo und Mac Lethal.

Dass The Aztext klassischen Neo-BoomBap machen, bestreiten sie nicht einmal selbst. Heißt es doch schon im ersten Song, "We Back": "We back, back with another overdose of Boom Bap". All jene, die also Alben, welche ein bisschen der Zeit entrückt sind, gespickt mit nostalgischen Sounds und Ehrungen der goldenen 90er, nicht mehr riechen können, sollten an dieser Stelle aufhören zu lesen. Denn dieses Album ist ein Paradebeispiel jener Kategorie. Relaxte Kopfnicker, nachdenkliche Stimmungsdämpfer oder schlicht und einfach knackige Drums bzw. die üblichen Verdächtigen, so nennen sich diese Beats. In allererste Sparte gehört der schon erwähnte Opener, der dann vom ernsteren "Lettin’ You Know" gefolgt wird, für das das Trio niemand Geringeren als One.Be.Lo gewinnen konnte. "Once opon a time... in the land of Vermont, there was a group called The Aztext. They met a traveller from Michigan, namend One Be Lo. And they did a song like this" so das Intro, während Dub Sonata’s Traum eines Beats kräftig dafür plädiert, erstmal auf Replay gesetzt zu werden. "Inspiration comes cheap with these beats we get". Das ist allerdings wahr. Nächste Zutat im Kochtopf ist ein Gute-Laune-Song, und in "Keepin’ It Live" können Pro und Learic mit abwechselnd eingeworfenen Bars derart überzeugen, dass der Einstand von Hochstimmung nicht lange auf sich warten lässt. In "Couldn’t Stand The Pain" eröffnet Learic über einen Voice-Sample-geschwängerten Beat, wie er sich durch Schreiben Luft machen kann. "Take a second, read the name, it’s plain to see / It’s personally my way to free the pain in me / So every day I need, to work every page I read, and face I meet and phrase I speak / That’s my way of keepin’ it real, cliché indeed / I’m like a journalist on this G-L-O-B-E / My pen records every single thing I see / So if I never plant a seed, this is how I read my legacy". Wie fast alle Alben ist auch dieses nicht fehlerlos, und sobald die Top-Beats aussetzen, kommt auch die Gesamtdarbietung ins Schwanken. Zudem noch mit recht gehaltlosen Lyrics gesegnet hätte man sich "Pay Attention" eigentlich sparen können, um dann gleich zum nächsten Track voranzuschreiten, der sich wirklich gewaschen hat. Das atmosphärische Voice-Sample in der Hook mit den trockenen Snares schreit förmlich nach Pro’s Raps. Mit dessen und Learic’s erstklassiger Leistung am Mic darf man "Blues & Jazz" getrost als Höhepunkt bezeichnen. "As we return, our Rap tradition remains / Spontaneous, like a Jazz musician was playin’".
Trotz großartigem Story-Telling hat der Beat von "Adventures Of..." zeitweise einen sehr nervigen Charakter, weshalb dieser Song auch bei weitem nicht an seinen Vorgänger anknüpfen kann. Touchphonics ist zuständig für die OldSchool-angehauchten Beats, von denen ersterer an "Roll Call" geht. Das etwas seichte "All I See" reißt nicht besonders viel, und die gesäuselte Hook des Gastes verändert das höchstens ins Negative. Nun sind die mittelmäßigen Tracks überwunden und man darf sich wieder über erstklassige Produktionen freuen, von denen das Fanfaren-getriebene "Move Into Position" den furiosen Anfang macht. "There’s people round the world who scream ’The Aztext’ / Hopin’ that we’ll resurrect lyrics with purpose / They exist, haven’t you heard our first disc?". Die relaxte Umschreibung des "Life Of An MC" ist nicht minder gelungen und macht den Durchhänger im Mittelteil vollends vergessen. DJ Big Kat betätigt sich mit Cuts und Scratches wieder kräftig am Geschehen, und bastelt sich den Chorus (fast) selbst zusammen. Mit "East Coast Air" folgt noch ein solider Track, der nur dazu dient, von "Our Kingdom" überstrahlt zu werden. Düster-gefährliche Produktion von Dub Sonata, die sich auch auf einem Release aus der AOTP-Ecke ebenfalls gut gemacht hätte. Dazu noch ein Feature von Rhymesayer Mac Lethal ergibt zweifelsohne einen Höhepunkt. In "Lookin Out My Window" wird dann beweisen, dass The Aztext auch gesungene Hooks angemessen einzusetzen wissen, während als Abschluss mit "Back 2 Basics" das Motto des Albums, verpackt in Touchphonics’ OldSchool-Beat, nochmals verkündet wird. Die letzten drei Tracks, Radio Edits von drei schon gehörten Songs, werden hier mal außen vor gelassen.

"The Sacred Document" von The Aztext ist genau das, was man unter einem gelungenen Neo-BoomBap-Album versteht, nicht mehr und nicht weniger. Dementsprechend gibt es hier viele solide Tracks, wenige Lückenfüller und einige richtig fabelhafte Beats mit Raps, die auf ihre lyrische Gewichtigkeit bedacht sind. Da dieses Album absolut garnichts bietet, was es nicht schon in zig-facher Variation zu hören gab, hat man nichts versäumt, wenn man es nicht gehört hat. Wem allerdings dieser 90er New York-Sound in seiner heutigen Form gefällt, weil er mit den Hip Pop-Releases des neuen Milleniums unzufrieden ist, der wird sich auch an diesem Album erfreuen können.
- SnoopFrog for

"The Sacred Document LP Review"

Do you remember Hip-Hop? Not rap. Hip-Hop. When it wasn’t about who had the biggest chain or the biggest gun or all the hottest women? When it was about who had the best flow? When it was about who could hold down a beat and who could not? When Hip-Hop was about having fun and not getting back at other lyricist and rappers?

I do. It was old school Talib Kweli. It was old school Mos Def. It was A Tribe Called Quest. It was The Fugees. It was Company Flow. It was Eric B. & Rakim. It was music for the sake of music. It was rhythmic beats and well-executed verses. It what was on at a good house party and you would ask someone ’Who is this?’ It’s what’s been missing from the music scene for a while.

And today, it’s back in the form of The Aztext’s second LP, The Sacred document_ The sensational three man piece hailing from Vermont consists of lyricists Pro and Learic, with DJ Big Kat piecing everything together behind the table. The trio seems to strive for and adequately deliver originality in beats, lyrical content, and vocal abilities, which was well documented and praised in their 2006 LP, Haven’t You Heard?. On The Sacred Document, it appears the group is trying to take it one step further.

The tracks utilized on The Sacred Document definitely do a phenomenal job of showcasing the lyrical dexterity of The Aztext’s main MCs, Learic and Pro. Their melodic, carefully placed, well structured rhymes keep the listener wanting more. Both rapper’s level of lyrical expertise and partnership become quite evident as you progress through the album. It takes a great deal of skill and work ethic to rap; it takes a great deal more to do it with another person. However, The Aztext’s featured lyricists do it proficiently with a consistency and fluidity that makes their efforts on The Sacred Document seem effortless. Pro and Learic are able to play off of numerous beats and other rappers with extreme ease, but their ability to go back-to-back with each other is what makes their songs really shine on the album. Check out their masterful rhyme techniques in "We Back," "Keepin’ It Live," "Couldn’t Stand the Pain," and "Pay Attention."

The head thumping beats and cuts produced on The Sacred Document do not only come from DJ Big Kat but a number of renowned producers including E-Train from The Loyalists, Touchphonics, and seasoned Hip Hop producer, Dub Sonata. The resulting collaboration of numerous beats from seperate producers gives The Aztext’s second LP a multi-layered, yet solidifying feel. It becomes a mesh of old school mellow Hip-Hop, heavily influenced by jazz and new school rhythmic beat precision. Listen to the beats laid down .. Into Position," "Adventures Of…," and "Back 2 Basics."

In an age where everything is a copy of a copy, and nothing really shocks you on the radio anymore, The Aztext are attempting to put out something special with their second effort. With this album, the trio has released a throwback to the old glory days of Hip-Hop, when it didn’t matter who you were or who was producing your music. Either you could handle the mic or the beat, or you couldn’t. It’s a tribute to what Hip-Hop used to be and, hopefully, evidence of what it still can be.

- Julian Williams, Music Editor (3.06.08) for Imprint Magazine


(Ordered Present to Past)

WHO CARES IF WE'RE DOPE? VOL. 2 - Release Date: February 22, 2011 - Label: Elevated Press Records - Producer: Touchphonics

WHO CARES IF WE'RE DOPE? VOL.1 - Release Date: November 30, 2010 - Label: Elevated Press Records - Producer: E-Train
(* Featured on I-Tunes New And Noteworthy)

(The Aztext newest project. Each EP features beats created by a different producer, offering a different vibe from the others.)

*BADIA: DONNE L'ALERTE - Release Date:November 01, 2009

(This track, 'Connexion' was recorded about 3 1/2 years ago! and believe it or not, the verses were originally kicked over a different beat... real synthy style track that we are happy to be on, because we might not otherwise have ripped a beat like this.
Badia is a female MC from France)


(We have two tracks on this album ... album is a free download! at and includes exclusive joints from Queen Latifah, Rhymefest, Serius Jones, Sadat X and many
many others...)

*THE LOYALISTS REDEMPTION - Release Date:July 11, 2008- Label:Back Bone Records

(We have a track on this called 'Endurance' ... this album is absolute fire, front to back!)

*DUB SONATA: ONE THE ARM - Release Date:February 15, 2008

(We have an exclusive track called 'Envy' on this album. The album also features Bizzy Bone, Vast Aire, Nature, C Razy Walz and many others...)

*THE SACRED DOCUMENT - Release Date:November 01, 2007 - Label:AZT Records

(Production by Dub Sonata, E Train, Nastee, Touchphonics and Special Weapon. This album features, One Be Lo, Rich Mo, Mac Lethal, Double AB and Memms)

*Q UNIQUE: THE COLLABS VOL 1 - Label:Uncle Howie

(Our tune 'The Game' is featured on this album.. as well as guest appearances by Sabac Red, Ill Bill, Necro and many others...)

*HAVEN'T YOU HEARD? - Release Date:April 01, 2006 - Label:AZT Records

(Our first album: Features production from Dub Sonata, E Train, Touchphonics, Special Weapon and D Rapp and guest verses from Krumb Snatcha, Wordswroth, Q Unique, Double AB, The Loyalists, and Memms.)



The Aztext have been making moves on the independent tip for a while now. They have two full-length albums under their belts as well as various features spanning through out the entire hip-hop scene. They’ve worked with and shared the stage with the likes of One Be Lo, Zion I, Krumb Snatcha, Afrika Bambatta, Snoop Dog, Planet Asia, Wordsworth, Akrobatik, Mac Lethal, Q-Unique, and Brother Ali.

The crew consists of Learic, Pro, and DJ Big Kat. Their sound is raw hip-hop at it’s finest. Their live show is a high-energy induced wall of funk. This is some no frill straight to the gut music, from the heart and soul, as was intended to be. Checking these guys out is a must!

The Aztext have now teamed up with long time affiliates Elevated Press Records to bring us a series of EP’s entitled ‘Who Cares If We’re Dope’. Each EP will feature beats from a different producer giving each release a distinct sound of it’s own. Get ready for the awakening of The Aztext!

Eric B & Rakim, Wu-Tang Clan, De La Soul, 3rd Bass, Black Sheep, A Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes, Canibus, Company Flow, Eminem, The Roots, Mobb Deep, Masta Ace, Biz Markie, Big Daddy Kane, Chino XL, Brother Ali, Run DMC, Kool G Rap, J-Live, O.C., KRS One, Big L, Biggie, Pharaohe Monche, Show & AG, Big Pun, Fat Joe, Cypress Hill, Funkdoobiest, House of Pain, Method Man, Nas, Jay-Z, Guru, Boot Camp, The Loyalists, M.O.P, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Otis Redding, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Wilson Pickett, Bobby Withers, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Kinks, Nirvana, Public Enemy, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Al Green, Dionne Warwick, Tower of Power, Ohio Players, The O'Jays, Lou Rawls