Review Summary: A diamond in the rough underground of Chicago that's waiting for all to listen4 of 5 thought this review was well written
Don't take it out on us cause the love wasn't there
Hip-Hop will show you love but the world doesn't care
Chicago hip-hop. Who comes to mind? The usual suspects, I'm suspecting: Kanye West, Common, Lupe Fiasco, Twista. Maybe if you're asking someone who knows a thing or two, then you'll get a Do or Die or a Crucial Conflict or maybe even some Molemen. Typical Cats rarely, if ever, gets brought up and that is a major problem.
The group consists of emcees Qwel, Denizen Kane, and Qwazaar while DJ Natural is behind the boards. The most amazing thing about the album that stands above all is the chemistry these 3 individuals share. Qwel's complex rhyme schemes and punchlines, Denizen's poetic demeanor, and Qwazaar's fluid flow all tie in together nicely. It is an understatement to say that this album is incredibly produced. DJ Natural obviously knows his stuff, and the samples he incorporates into the album's beats are perfect for the mood. The slithering bass line of "Reinventing the Wheel", the contradictory playful sample in "Any Day", the piano in "Live Forever" and "Snake Oil". Everything seems so perfect, and sounds so good. This is a perfect example of a jazz-rap album, even if the jazz isn't live. Elements of Chicago culture is sprinkled throughout the album, like Qwel's graf-ode "The Manhattan Project" and the original "Thin Red Line". Qwel sticks out the most as the obviously more gifted of the 3, but Denizen Kane has his moments. His solo over a dreamy piano and female backing vocal in "Live Forever" is a highlight, and so is "What You Thought Hops", which is made of spoken word goodness.
Why is the TV the only place that I can see my lonely face
and these mirrors won't accept my reflection?
This album is arguably the most underrated hip-hop album I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. It's closing in on 10 years old and still sounds like it could have came out last Tuesday. To some, the world of underground hip-hop can be a dark tunnel with no appearant clear direction to take. For me, Typical Cats' self-titled debut was my dimly lit lantern. This album carries the distinction of being the first album I ever downloaded, which was only because of the song "Any Day", which was featured in the soundtrack of Tony Hawk's Project 8. I had some knowledge of indie hip-hop prior to that, albeit limited to surface acts such as MF DOOM (Who I thought was a God at the time. Figures.), Murs, and CunninLynguists. But this album jump-started me to dig deeper, and deeper, and deeper until I could recapture the feeling and awe I felt and experienced when I first gave this album a listen; and I still dig.