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Themselves - 'theFREEhoudini (Deluxe Edition)' [CD]
Themselves - 'theFREEhoudini (Deluxe Edition)' [CD]
Themselves - 'theFREEhoudini (Deluxe Edition)' [CD]
Themselves - 'theFREEhoudini (Deluxe Edition)' [CD]


theFREEhoudini (Deluxe Edition)


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Ten years after the release of their seminal debut, six years since their last LP, Themselves return in 2009 with not one, but two full length albums. The first is theFREEhoudini: one part aggressive rap mixtape, one part posse reunion record that wrangles all seven original members of the Anticon collective- and several distinguished guests- to reaffirm the crew's place in hip hop history. Herein is the finest prose from today's most venerable wordsmiths, slung over a perpetually shifting landscape of hard beats and texture. Providing the meat and motivation, of course, are themselves- Doseone and Jel- who've realized this feat as a single gratis long-playing track. A truly free-for-all celebration of just how good rap can be, theFREEhoudini (mixed by Odd Nosdam), released digitally this spring, is preceded by key snippet leaks through select web institutions.

Caught within the steely guts of theFREEhoudini are several patent Doseone freestyles, a few edited chunks from the still-shrouded album to follow, and literally every emcee with whom Dose has shared a formative moment on the mic. Always the good hosts, Themselves crat each beat to fit its guest to a T, with Dose's verbal accompaniment incorporating the contributor's themes. He and Aesop Rock trade heated verses over organ tones and propulsive drums, while with Buck 65, the mood is old-school braggadocio and boom bap. Sole storms through, dropping real-world horrorcore before Busdriver lays down sing-song and a little light-speed rapping. Cincinati's Lionesque (who appeared on Dose's 1998 debut, Hemispheres) spits fire over one of Jel's biggest beats. Pedestrian delivers a blown-out sermon from a shadowy aural pulpit; D-Styles cuts furiously on Dose's linguistic tribute to Ultramagnetic MCs; Chicago's Serengeti contributies a contemplative piece; and Slug of Atmosphere sounds inspired alongside his old Deep Puddle Dynamics buddies. One of the strongest moments comes from a reunited cLOUDDEad with Why?'s Yoni Wolf eschewing melody for straight-faced rap over Nosdam sounds. Japan's DJ Baku provides further turntable tweaks.

An extremely limited run of numbered deluxe CD versions of theFREEhoudini are available now. These feature an additional 16 minutes of music, separated tracks, and guest appearances from Passage and Alias accompanied by DJ Andrew (Fog's Andrew Broder).
Track Listing & Audio

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