Several times throughout this EP I had to remind myself that this is hip-hop with a full band. And sometimes I had to remember that it’s hip-hop—but so much more than just that. Ska, reggae, and funk permeate this EP and become the vehicle to MC Devlin’s lyrical manslaughter. Words like “cherubic” and “mercurial” make up Mad Conductor’s lexicon, which immediately elevates the group in my mind. I put a lot of stock in lyrics and intent when I experience music, and these guys are sharp as tacks. Unlike most hip-hop groups, this is a band that plays many different styles of music with rapping overtop—and not in that terrible Limp Bizkit/nü-metal way. The second track is about having a show shut down by cops for being over capacity and moving to a different venue. Later in the song Devlin spits about rooftop and generator shows, letting his punk rock roots show through. This MC started out fronting the punk band No Cash and has moved onto a band that is much more diverse. You can hear the punk lifestyle shine through in couplets of approximate rhymes like these: “When you were juicing vegetables, I was rockin’ Sex Pistols / Hated by the constables, because I pump the decibels.” The five-song EP is also heavy on the ska / reggae influences (complete with rude girl backing vocals), which is a perfect marriage to Devlin’s smooth lyrical poetry. These guys blew me away with their last record. This one is just as strong and deserving of your next dance party.
–Kayla Greet (Self-released, madconductor.bandcamp.com)