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The Beatbox: CES Cru

Playground
(Innatesounds)

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Take the last novel you read and add 10 words, and you'll have some idea of the verbosity of CES Cru's latest. Don't ask — trust the math. Words are crammed into every corner and crevice of Playground, and the lyrics spin and wail like an overcrowded merry-go-round. But that's CES Cru — these guys drop 20 verses every time they take off their shoes. Though the duo of Ubiquitous (Mike Viglione) and Godemis (Donnie King) released a mixtape in 2008 and have contributed to other artists' releases over the years, Playground is CES Cru's first official full-length in five years. Their vibrant, cerebral 2004 debut, Capture Enemy Soldiers, established Godi and Ubi as street poets who kept it real while crafting Byzantine verses. Playground lives up to that promise, spraying line upon line of crackling verbiage at fire-hose volume. Sometimes the result is obscure, connoisseur-level wordplay — if you can follow the conceptual plot line starring Godemis as a character named "Jason Dean," then you're ready for Ezra Pound. But often, CES breaks through with arresting clarity, particularly when painting images of its hometown, as Godemis does on "Float": The city seems to get smaller the older I get/The middie's just a big-ass mosh pit/We walk around, hoppin' in dog shit/Anticipate the second that some hater'll talk shit/It's all clique-heavy, my machete is sharp/I'm 81-6 trained in the deadliest art. Producer Leonard DStroy's beats and turntablism lay out a colorful, quirky backdrop: Jazzy hooks and flying-saucer sonics stand behind the lyrics like panels in a graphic novel. See the whole thing come to life Friday at the Riot Room, when CES Cru holds its Playground release party with Brooklyn veterans Heltah Skeltah headlining.

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