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Deep Thinkers

Necks Move (Datura)

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With its so-you're-a-philosopher stage name and its album-opening sequence (in which someone intones, "It's an aboriginal art process" over a didgeridoo solo), Deep Thinkers might terrify the pretentious-phobic. That fear would fade fast, however, because this duo is actually much more down-to-earth than most of its underground hip-hop peers. Like the post-wackiness Pharcyde, DT's Brother of Moses balances quick-witted wordplay with astute observations, staying away from sanctimony. Behind the MC, Leonard D. Stroy incorporates old-school elements (scratches, breaks, beat boxing) and techno squiggles into dense, organic tracks that never stop simmering. The Thinkers leave room for meditation, fighting the temptation to fill every space with a catchy chant. "We Live in Kansas City and ... ," an ode to civic pride (The rent's hella cheap), spreads two verses and a sharp Mac Lethal cameo into a chorus-free four minutes. Necks Move, now a nationwide release after debuting locally in late 2003, should get heads nodding on both coasts, though the line Fuck Vibe, fuck Source, fuck XXL/All those pretty fashion magazines are stupid as hell might sabotage its shot at the genre's glossies.

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