Gig Seeker Pro


Detroit, Michigan, United States

Detroit, Michigan, United States
Band Hip Hop Soul




"Passalacqua - S/T (review)"

This is a release that randomly hit my email the other day. I always have an assortment of releases to look at and review, but I got this in my inbox and decided at six tracks, the least I can do is give it a spin. I am glad that I did. Passalacqua is a dope record by any set of standards. They pack a lot of punch into these six tracks. The EP is the type of jam that you would play on a Sunday morning and relax. It’s jazzy and very harmonious.

This effort is a collaboration of two detroit artists, Mister and Blaksmith. I have never heard of either before but this melding of talents seems effortless and natural. Their production, which is a GREAT reason to love this EP, is handeld by Dr. B.

Pineapple Faygo is musically amazing. I love the dusty jazz vibe of this track. Usually I prefer some harder boom-bap but this joint is on another level when it comes to being “smooth”. The horns just ooze the soulful vibe. Mister’s deep and raspy vocals in particular sound really good on a track like this. His cadence and flow just lend themselves to the slower paced cut.

Tom and Bootsy is another joint that moved me. I love the classic guitar samples Dr. B is using. It sounds a little western, perhaps a little spanish but when mixed with the hype drum pattern and scratching, it becomes pure hip hop. Mister and Blak Smith exchange sixteens and their contrasting styles make this a track to listen to. It is probably my favorite track of the lot because while the lyrics keep you on your toes, the music remains so entrancing.

The title track, Passalacqua, continues the laid back goodness with another guitar laced tirade by Dr. B. In the background looms an ever subtle flute (or other indiscriminate wind instrument). The emcees prove once again to be very engaging in their own unique styles. Blak Smith drops the first verse on the cut and in trying to take a quotable I found that my mind and my keyboard could not work quickly enough. The same stood the same when Mister dropped his bars. These rhymes appear to be based on just a stream of consciousness. The lyrics are woven so intricately that it is impossible to take in everything on the first, second, or even third listen.

Passalacqua is simply a different release. It is one that I could sit and analyze for hours and still not come up with the perfect combination of words to describe it. But I will try:

It is poetry in motion. Musically and lyrically this is a journey that has no definite end. It is an enjoyable listen from start to finish and I can easily recommend it to anyone. My only hope is that this is not a one trip deal for these three individuals. Blak Smith, Mister, and Dr. B have incredible chemistry and I think they, or we (being selfish) deserve a full length effort. - Hip Hop Dependency

"Weave 'Em Together As One"

"Passalacqua is more of a condition." Symptoms? Understanding – and embracing a bit of chaos and spontaneity.

Brent Smith, a.k.a. "Blaksmith" (of MC quartet Cold Men Young) and Bryan Lackner, solo MC known as "Mister" have aligned their unique rap styles and lyrical sensibilities to forge a hyper-theatric, expectation-rattling, punk-rock tinged hip-hop exploration. Their aim is to astonish (and that might include on-stage pizza deliveries from casted extras mid-song or confetti canons, or, possibly, blown up masks resembling Tom Waits' and Bootsy Collins' likenesses).

Their cuts thrive on subtler grooves while their words thrive on introspection; songs-as-earnest character studies as the two passionate wordsmiths mesh their own musical and personal philosophies via traded verses, set to driving beats and demure, yet dazzling soul and funk samples. (See: their debut EP.) Steadily conceptualized through the winter, Passalacqua has evolved into a dynamic live presentation: silly yet, more so—cerebral, confrontational yet, more so—coaxing. Let down your guard.

The pair met as 13-year-olds; science class at Hart Middle School, Rochester Hills, circa 2000. Their paths crossed again, 10 years later, when Smith, having developed some solo stuff before then joining CMY, checked out "this Mister guy" on a recommendation, not knowing it was Lackner. Blaksmith wound up as Lackner's "hype-man," adding brio to an already quirky live show, while both rappers steadily impacted audiences outside the hip-hop scene through the avenues of Passalacqua, CMY or just Mister. Which touches on another of their goals, splicing scenes, crowds and genres.

"We never know what we're gonna do," Smith says of any pre-live show mindset. It's somewhat postmodernist through sheer provocation and whimsy, altogether beguiling (and, if you listen between their dizzyingly swift deliveries, quite profound). "I want people to be engaged," Lackner says, "and really enjoying it, as opposed to being standoffish." The cause is to captivate you (with "words, images, props, emotions, movement") thus that you question your own expectations (of not just hip-hop, but live music.) "Let the rap be constant," Smith says, "everything else is whatever."

Lackner is developing two EPs as Mister, with two UK producers (Dr. B and Que-C) while Smith and Cold Men Young are working on Champagne Nights/Red Stripe Budget's follow up, having just performed at Austin's SXSW. - Real Detroit Weekly


Passalacqua EP

"Words With Friends", single



Mergence – in the tradition of Mos Def and Talib Kweli (Black Star)’s masterful balancing of respective rap signatures, Detroit-based MC’s Mister and Blaksmith (a.k.a. Bryan Lackner and Brent Smith), have symbiotically stitched together an EP of keen, canny rhymes that vary in shades, inflected their own personal influences, but wrapped and worn gracefully together upon the same provacative quilt.

“Every road has a bit of a wind / Each one with a specific design / Many a difference between yours and mine, and yet, we ended up following the same signs…”

Now, whenever times get tough, Mister & Blaksmith, “bust out the rhymes,” united as Passalacqua. And in the same regard as the lyrics (from their debut EP’s “Been a Minute,”) the pair shared a resurgance of pure inspiration when they reunited in late 2009 (having not seen each other since 7th grade Science class). The dynamic meshing of their respective styles (a blend of Old School hip/hop, East Coast rap, the murkier underground and boisterous pop-angled rap) is galvanized by their inventive live presentations, conceptual, theatrical, almost performance art; altogether curious and highly engaging.

Audiences often exclaim that the allure is that one doesn’t know what they’ll do next. That’s what distinguishes Passalacqua; “Let the rap be the constant,” Blaksmith said, “everything else is whatever.”

Cathartic, rejuvenating, and a portrait of two lives, two separate trails of influence, to burgeoning writers’ minds in the ever shifting hip/hop realm, merging. Their debut EP is flaired with dense, agile wordplay atop strutting night-drive grooves and subtle flares of funk, soul & Motown.

Find the Passalacqua EP at