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The best kept secret in music

Press


"Feature Of The Week"

Author: Kenny Rodriguez
rapreviews.com

It's 2004 and the music world has been ransacked by corporate androids. Once brimming with life and soul, hip-hop music has become monotonous and lifeless at the hands of profit-driven record execs. In an attempt to separate themselves from what they call "crunk rap music" surrounding them -- Johnny Madwreck (MC/producer), Mr. Mattic (MC), and DR (DJ/producer) combined their powers to form "The Others." On a mission to bring that "good ole feel" back into hip-hop, this Charlotte, North Carolina-based trio composed their sophomore album "Past Futuristic" -- a boom-bap frenzy of beats and rhymes. Will they succeed in bringing the music back to its roots and make it out alive?

On "Who We Be?" the Others introduce themselves alongside b-boy circle handclaps and plush trumpets, which eventually give way to an even funkier cascading drum roll. Get your linoleum mats out, because by the end of the song I was busting out a six-step, head-spin maneuver that I haven't pulled off in years. Break-dancers and up-rockers at heart will love the rhythmic breakbeats on "Ready" and "It's About Time," as well as sultry sample-chopping that would make DJ Premier nod his head in appreciation.

Mellow flutes chirp on "Flippin Rhymes" as Madwreck, Mattic and guest artist Supastition reminisce on their childhood dreams of rocking the microphone: "Trapped in my bedroom for hours writing new shit down / parents beating on the wall like: ‘Boy, turn that music down!'"

Things get smoother midway into the album. On "Reflect," neo-soul vibraphones bubble over chants of "it's-like-this-y'all, it's-like-that-y'all," and the ambient mood continues with the cosmic chimes on "The Opener's Love Change" (think of Slum Village or Little Brother). As a matter of fact, a few of the closing beats resemble fellow North Kakalak producer 9th Wonder's work -- and that's a helluva compliment for those of you out of the hip-hop loop. "Wreck Is The Concept" has a head-nodding yet mystical feel that it has to be heard to be believed.

Although much of the beats are remarkable, lyrically, you will find no hip-hop quotables nor monumental wordplay here. Instead, what you get is precise, back-and-forth coordination on the mic reminiscent to hip-hoppers Jurassic 5 and the now defunct Arsonists, but with an underlining smooth 1993 Souls of Mischief feel to it. Oftentimes the brilliant production outshines the MC's yes-yes-y'all flows, but that's not to say the Others aren't spitting fire. Peep a verse from the melodic "Triumphant in the Sun":

"I'm the type of MC that makes history
It was what it is to be: concrete
Far from obsolete when I freely speak
From the hip-hop synthesis, powered by the sun
Compelled to keep spitting every hour 'til I'm done
Then nighttime comes, time to catch a train
That travels through the wormholes, or should I say 'veins'
Of the universe, infinite, never coming back
Till I reach my destination which is where I started, and that's that"

The title "Past Futuristic" fits the album perfectly. The Others manage to shell out fresh, innovative music that at the same time evokes a nostalgic, old-school feel conjuring up the days when MC meant "move-the-crowd." Will they succeed in toppling the corporate hegemony currently dominating hip-hop? That has yet to be seen, but I look forward to hearing more from these guys in the future.

Music Vibes: 8.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8 of 10
- Rap Reviews


"The Others Drop “Past Futuristic” On Third Earth"

by: Angela Puccini
(NEW YORK)--- “We represent the roots of hip-hop taking them on bare fisted in plain clothes.”-DJ/MC Johnny Madwreck of The Others.

Read it like your classic comic book epic: The year is 2004 and mindless representation by the governmental powers-that-be is currently only being matched by mangled manifestations of artistic expression, with a high end focus on hip-hop music. Most are saying nothing and an even larger invisible majority has some uttering slight disgust under their breath but The Others have a plan to make this time theirs.

Third Earth Music (3EM), in conjunction with Caroline Distribution, announced the official release of The Others’ sophomore album “Past Futuristic” (PF) dropping June 1, 2004. The Others, made up of MC Mr. Mattic, DJ/Producer the Mighty DR and DJ/MC Johnny Madwreck, are the newest hip-hop addition to the 3EM family.
The North Carolina trio, aptly named to separate themselves from the dominant style of rap that plagues their homeland, are on a mission. “In the dirty south we’re surrounded by ‘crunk’ rap music. We are doing something different, something with musical substance,” said Madwreck.
The album is an accurate thematic account of the crew’s musical identity and an ever-evolving purpose to not only to elevate musically but also inject substance back into the ear of hip-hop. The album’s cover, illustrated by Scott Johnson, is an aesthetic imprint of the current war being waged for the livelihood of the culture’s soul.
“Past Futuristic’ refers to how our sound fits into the immediate hip-hop soundscape of the minute. Our production style combines old school sampling with high tech effects and matches old school flows with current topics. The album is full of messages, but above all the cover comes correct: we’re sick of being categorized in the same genre of music as the dominating trend,” said Madwreck.
Running the gamete from questions of identity, war issues, a ten year reflection of the hip-hop game to even the tasks of surviving everyday life, “Past Futuristic” runs revolutions faster than any Technic’s table while cutting clear cut messages of importance through the blurring pace of contemporary life.
With volatile music minefields of the moment abound and a year of recording behind them, The Others have arrived though not unscathed, “we’ve all gone through a lot during the year of recording. Mattic was injured on his job by slipping in a spilled vat of sulfuric acid and received 3rd degree burns all over his back and upper arms. I was held up at gunpoint one night by my apartment and was robbed for everything worth something on me. Track 14 on PF makes for an interesting conversation on the irony of that night. I had just recorded a track for some people in South Carolina and they actually came through and paid me.,” said Johnny.
Though not the gun-toting types, The Others have armed themselves with the heaviest artillery of classic jazz, classical composers and golden age hip-hop knowledge to assemble a sound capable of blasting away any stagnant rap stereotype and its feeble minded majority.
With building blocks this heavy and a sound this potent The Others are clearly innovative mechanics of sound, “DR and I spend hours on just getting the drums to sound right. To us it’s like rebuilding an engine, taking an old sample and bringing it back to life,” said Johnny.
Perhaps the only thing tighter than their sound, is their bond born out of respect for their music, “we all know each other because we all have the same love for the music,” said Madwreck. “Past Futuristic” is an album sure to unearth itself with a velocity yet unseen from the revolutions of this planet, so cop it quick before it blows you headlong into the past.
- Elastic Fate


"Crate Check"

sudden-thoughts.com
4 out of 5

Beyond remembering a time “when hip hop was good” (according to Mos Def, courtesy of Slick Rick), there are many who remember – or at least have learned – when the music was a matter of life and death: a do-or-die struggle to make sense of the former, fitted with heady rhymes and nod-your-head beats. So that when MC/producer Johnny Madwreck spits that “shit is twisted in my streets/ and the only thing I got to live for is my rhymes and my beats” (“Wreck is the Concept”), he is camping himself firmly in frequently missing territory on today’s hip hop landscape. Luckily for the listener – and promisingly for Madwreck’s group The Others - Past Futuristic sits as a start-to-finish, show-don’t-tell delivery on such a claim, which stays true to much of the music’s most important roots while avoiding many of today’s underground’s most tiring clichés. They open by asking “Who We Be?” – the simple answer is an MC-DJ duo (Mattic and DR, respectively), who later added the double-threat Madwreck to the fold. The grouping was a good idea, as it added a much-needed tension to the vocal delivery, since most of the beats, though intelligent, come out of a similar, jazz-inflected style. That tension is the complementary contrast of Mattic and Madwreck: the latter the Kweli to the former’s Mos Def, staccato and in front of the beat where Mattic is breathless, rhythmically regular, and syncopated behind the beat like the best jazz saxophonists. The whole combination is a wildly successful alternative to the mindless Crunkification of the south from which they spring – New York attitude chilling on a North Cackalack front porch. You know it’s good when the only complaint you can find is that Past Futuristic isn’t completely revolutionary, instead merely an excellent summing up and redefinition of their wide-ranging influences, a complete statement of who they be and where they’re headed from here out.

Past and future – this album gets most of its forward momentum from exactly such tensions: the critical importance of The Others’ message and the laid-back flow with which they deliver it; the intellectual rigor that frames their rhymes and marries them to DR’s in-born musicality, and the near-total lack of pretension; the swagger of mature self-confidence (Wreck’s “behold the marvel of the moves that we make/ it went from ten people reppin to the whole fucking state”) mixed with enough self-deprecating humor to introduce themselves on the album as total unknowns. Instead of pimp cups and getting urr-y-body in the club tipsy, Past Futuristic makes music out of more subtle stuff, both musically and lyrically built on interesting connections and sudden cross-cuts. Blessed with a record collection where Ella Fitzgerald is filed comfortably next to Golden Age breaks or O’Jays-style vocal harmonies, DR (with Madwreck's help) finds enough similarities to sustain an hour’s worth of subtle flow. But they also take a much more collaborative role than today’s average producer, bringing to mind thoughts of true beat makers like DJ Premier or Erik B. Because like in the best hip hop, this disc is never content with just a sick rhyme or an ill beat. Instead, a long history together gives The Others a lived-in back and forth feel, not just in the lyrical tradeoffs between Mattic and Madwreck (though they get damned telepathic at times), but even in their interaction with the beats themselves. On “Flippin’ Rhymes” – a quick trip through the difficult birth of an MC – hand claps and a lazy jazz flute get the MCs in a mood for reminiscing (think the summer of ’86); guest MC and close friend Supastition gives a quick run down of his influences – “I learned the voice from Rakim, the punch lines from Lord Finesse/ the wittiness from Kane, and Slick Rick, he told the stories best” – and then Johnny Madwreck comes back, sampling the originals, digging directly into those crates to cap off the day’s history lesson. To put it simply, that’s dialogue, and on any disc like Past Futuristic that covers this much ground, it serves as the axis that keeps them grounded, a base built on long conversations with the past that carries the material, face forward, into the future. It is hip hop that plunges directly into the contradictions and ambiguities of real life, and works hard to mold it into manageable rhymes or beat it back to size with just the right soundtrack.

The other surprising thing is how well that balance works – the intelligence here, mixed with the lack of pretension means that the disc strikes a completely enjoyable alternative to the overly retro throwbacks and the knotty, humorless strains that dominate today’s underground scene. Even on a track like “Amazing,” which explodes lyrically out of the gate, like fireworks in the face of the present political situation in all its illogic and excess, Madwreck puts these kinds of lyrics in quick perspective: “if you dig too deep, ya get done/ underground rapping doesn’t mean ya have to come/ up with calculus equations and relativity theories.” It loses some of the flow when written out like that, which is an important thing to note – because whether ripping the big budgets that dominate and deflate creativity on major labels, or whether calling the kids out to the floor to shake shit to early-‘90’s grooves, The Others always manage to maintain what they call at one point that “Good Ol’ Feel.” That’s the thing about a lot of indie acts these days: they spend so much time telling you how much more creative they are than radio-ready joints, and take themselves so seriously, that they forget to actually show you the results in their music. That’s not to say that The Others don’t take things seriously – every level of this record, from the tightly-woven drum textures to the mature and individual vocal delivery of both MCs, clearly took some time – it’s just to say that they aren’t going to patronize you with tired treatises about the Elements of hip hop or spend the whole record rhyming about their rhymes. This must be what happens when you mix the musical integrity of a New York jazz club with the sunny afternoon blast of southern car speakers: it’s not just critical but highly contagious too, full of intensity and intelligence, but it goes down easy. However they’re doing it, they have enough shared history and deep communication to ensure that this is anything but a one-time fluke. “Independent as fuck,” but no so fucking indie: all the elements – musical, not the hip hop historical kind – are in place to carry their career a long way.

- Charles Walker

- Sudden Thoughts


"HipHopSite Review"

HHS Rating: @@@@ of 5
HipHopSite Review

Some MCs talk about 'taking it back' and even more boast about 'being on some next shit.' Meanwhile the little known trio, The Others, have found the equilibrium right between these two ideologies. Don't be fooled by their name--these Charlotte, North Carolina reps aren't creating inaccessible music by any means. Following in the steps of their Carolina neighbors, Little Brother, The Others produce purely soulful and straightforward hip-hop. On their new album, Past Futuristic, Mr. Mattic (MC), Johnny Madwreck (Producer/MC) and The Mighty DR (Producer/DJ), deliver cool, calm and collected flows, complimented by equally pleasing production for 2004 and beyond.

Even without any hi-profile guest spots or hype, Past Futuristic may quite possibly be one of the biggest surprises in hip-hop this year. When listening to inviting tracks like "Flippin' Rhymes" (featuring Supastition), you have to wonder why nobody put these cats on sooner. The soothing set of flute loops that Madwreck assembled here allows him and his crewmates to kick equally slick rhymes about how they first came to romance the mic. While The Others aren't necessarily breaking new ground, their ability to deliver timeless hip-hop is what makes their sound so appealing. Take the blazing reggae-flavored "Amazing", which instrumentally sounds reminiscent of the Beatminerz at their best and would have sounded as dope ten years ago as it would ten years from today. Lyrically, Mattic and Madwreck keeps thing clear-cut, conscious and upbeat. An element of their rhymes that makes their music so ageless is that they don't touch too much on specific current events. Look at this as being no frills if you will, but their raps about perseverance make for some feel good listening.

All the crews out there like Little Brother and K-Otix who make gimmick free hip-hop so effortlessly can now welcome The Others to their ranks. On the their sophomore album The Others have placed one rock solid effort onto the market. Only time will tell how many heads will actually catch wind of what this virtually unheard of trio has accomplished. Don't sleep.


Review By: Max Herman - hiphopsite.com


"The Best of Charlotte's Original Music Scene"

Rock & Roll Call
The Best of Charlotte's Original Music Scene

BY TIMOTHY C. DAVIS

It's impossible, of course, to ever be truly comprehensive when compiling a list of local artists, no matter the medium.

That sentiment's especially true when it comes to music. Some artists may have broken up their band or recently left town, and some bands may be just getting started. And then you have the bedroom geniuses, content to simply share their talents with the curtains and cabinetry.

As such, this list is not truly comprehensive -- but it is, we think, pretty damn close. It's not a list of our favorite bands, though many are assuredly on here, too. It's more of a look at what we see as the best of a Charlotte original music scene that is more vibrant and healthy than at perhaps any time in our history -- no matter which style of music you may prefer (as someone once said, "labels are for suckers"). However, we did try to fit bands into the pre-established categories we felt they fit best, for convenience's sake.

In short, we think it's time for our hard-working Charlotte bands, duos, and independent musicians to stand up and be counted. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you: Creative Loafing's Rock & Roll Call. Go see "em. Go support them. And whatever you do, try not to get counted absent.

Hip Hop
Featured Artist: The Others

The group's anticipated sophomore CD, Past Futuristic, is due out sometime in May. Conscientious hip hop that manages to avoid the tedious preaching and backpack-gazing
that often befall the genre, The Others' recent recording history suggests they might
not be relegated to outsider industry status for much longer. Featuring production by
djDR and madwreck and featuring guests like Supastition and DJ Slate, Past Futuristic
shows The Others doing what they do best: keeping one foot in the past as they step
confidently into the future. (www.madwreck.com)
- Creative Loafing


Discography

2004:
Past Futuristic (LP) third earth
Amazing(single) third earth
c'mon(single) third earth

2003:
Plan B(LP) phantom 4ce

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

After inheriting a colossal jazz record collection from his father, D R began his production saga at a young age. Armed with a Roland ms1 and a tape deck he was able to put together intricate beats that caught the attention of many local mc’s and hip-hop activists. He later upgraded to the mpc-2000xl, which he currently uses. A decade later his record collection has grown large enough to fill his entire garage, studio, and basement.

In the mid 90’s DR met Mattic on the campus the were attending. Mattic was a hungry mc, devoted to every element of underground hip-hop. His skills were proven on countless occasions after demolishing competitors in free-style battles. After hearing DR’s production they formed a four member group (along with Ahjah and Soledad) known as the Katsckill Project. They were taught the ways of the game by hip-hop pioneer Daddy-O of Stetsasonic and proceeded to blow up the south-eastern area.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town, a solo producer known as Madwreck was making some moves of his own. Backed with a Yamaha su-10, an Alesis qs6, and over 10 years of classical music training, he began turning his love for underground hip-hop into gritty street flavored tracks. Eventually he upgraded to various computer programs that he now produces with today. After working with numerous mc’s who rarely did his tracks any justice he picked up the mic and started flipping his own rhymes over his own tracks.
After Madwreck was satisfied with his rhyming skills he ventured out and began appearing in freestyle sessions that DR happened to be dj-ing. He gave DR a demo and became the opening act for the Katsckill Project.

A year later the Katsckills broke up due to creative differences. Mattic, DR, and Madwreck continued working together and eventually formed The Others, aptly named to separate themselves from the dominant style of dirty south rap that plagues their homeland. In 2001 they completed their first LP entitled Plan-B. After sending out numerous demos they signed the dotted line with Kimani and became bona fide Third Earthlings. Their second LP "Past Futuristic" is their first official release but will not be their last, their next installment is already in the works.