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Dayton Family: Family Feud

Dayton Family: Family Feud

Label:Fast Life
Release Date:2005
Genre:Hip Hop/Rap

By Ethan Padgett | Posted 10/5/2005

In the 1980s, Flint, Mich., was the public face of a devastating series of closures and layoffs at the nation’s auto factories, advantageous business decisions that stranded entire communities in violence and poverty. From that bulldozed dust, Midwestern gangsta rap evolved rawer and lonelier than that from New York or Oakland, Calif. Flint’s Dayton Family spits about hardship over instrumentals that coagulate Dr. Dre and DJ Quik’s moist smacks into grim, weary funk.

A decade on, Dayton Family has lost some of its hunger with age. The new sound of Family Feud is less eerie, the old symphonic bounce demoted to basic, minor-key beats. But lyrically, Dayton Fam lays it down like it’s still 1995. Bootleg comes with rich, husky syllables, and Shoestring raps like Scarface or late-period Tupac. The two paint chromed visions of tight whips on “Chevys” and drop advanced knowledge on lobbyists, drug laws, and the Constitution on “Formula 51.” They break down everyday hustles, address the haters, and rep their set over the Spanish horns of “Dayton Niggaz,” and pour their hearts into “Can’t Get Out” and “What Is Your Issue,” swerving back from prickly paranoia to wisdom and reflection.

Some of the album—the cold-blooded murder music—is more generic than the group’s usual standard. But, like everything Dayton Family has touched, the best of Family Feud is incredible music. Younger rap acts like Z-Ro and Big Gee aren’t scared to rap about everyday life, and Dayton Family was doing it before they ever laid down a track. Dayton Family doesn’t spit about rims or plastic pimp goblets. Bootleg and Shoestring rap about dropping kids off at school and trying to stay out of the dope game. It’s a true-life struggle on record, one we need more than ever.

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