: Mood Swingz
Ultra lo-fi, ink-jet production values on these three CD-R’s from Dirt Platoon, which might have you imagining some raw drum-machine tracks and shouty rhymes before actually popping them in the boom box. But nah, Dirt Platoon—three MCs from East and West Baltimore plus a ringer from the South Bronx—is surprisingly subtle on the mic, “with a Chesapeake Bay flow” and rugged beats that at their best clomp with Timberland force. This is dusty basement studio business, lit by a single hanging bulb, samplers gently weeping as loops from old soul LPs swirl like menthol smoke.
“Da Intro,” on Operation 410, blares nasty, tinny synth horns, à la Swizz Beatz, but Dirt Platoon really favors faded, mournful vocals over boom-bap drums (“Hurt”), or lonely flutes and sped-up Kanye West-style R&B sprites (“Assumptionz”). Lyrically, Dirt Platoon are on a stress rap tip—unsurprising given life in Baltimore in 2006—with bleak couplets such as “One day I had a dream that I died/ And nobody cried,” and no club tracks or pimp struts. The most surprising song is “Exchange Vowz,” where one Platoon member claims “my heart’s skipping as I make this commitment” over twinkling piano runs glazed in reverb. Kinda nice to hear some rap cats talk about women as something other than interchangeable body parts fresh off the meat hook. Dirt Platoon deserves more dap than its minimal profile would suggest.