9 Mile (We Go the Extra Mile)
Artist: Exquisite Rap Duo
Produced by: Expunged Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
When I first received 9 Mile (We Go the Extra Mile), I only knew that I was about to listen to a rap album. A sample of the music gave me the impression that I would be listening to old school style rapping, but I really had no clue what the albumís creative artists, Exquisite Rap Duo, were all about. Then I listened to their album and a smile began to growÖthen came a laughÖand then I had to listen to the album again.
Hailing from Portland, Oregon, Exquisite Rap Duo is promoíd as two artists: Exquisite and MC Rap, but I did a little digging and found out that Exquisite Rap Duo is really the work of one man: Expunged Records President Anthony McNamer. Listening to this album, however, you would never believe that it wasnít performed by two rap artists. In fact, before I did some investigative reporting, I was sold on the idea of two rapping friends out of Portland kicking it with their debut album and going strong. Genius!
The style of 9 Mile is old school rap meets Weird Al. When I say old school rap, Iím thinking of the early days of rapping like the Beastie Boys and Fresh Prince. The songs offer up the laughs like Weird Al, but the lyrics arenít parodies of old rap songs. These are original lyrics that may allude to an old rap song or two, but never actually parody those songs like Weird Al does. For example, the title of the album, 9 Mile (We Go the Extra Mile), alludes to 8 Mile by Eminem. The joke is there, but thatís the limit - there is an angry rap about a mother on the album, but itís about the artistís stepmother and doesnít sound anything like Eminemís Cleaning Out My Closet or any other Eminem scream about how much I hate my mother track.
There are some tracks that, until you actually listen to the song, you might think were offensive. For example, when I first saw the title of one track, Best Friends with a Gay Dude, I thought, ďOh no, this canít be good.Ē But after hearing the track, I realized that the song was really about acceptance performed in a humorous manner. BMX Bike is a hysterical look at older guys who still perform tricks and try to look tough on a Mongoose. Basically, the Exquisite Rap Duo is telling these individuals that you canít look tough on a bike that is made for kids, so grow up already. Another favorite of mine is Pull 'Em Up, a song about the hip-hop world's sagging pants style.
Instead of singing about bling like most rap artists, the Exquisite Rap Duo sings about a Calculator Watch and itís incredible abilities. The lyrics to this song are really quite clever and I was amazed to find myself singing along with the hook after the first listen. Paragraph is a shot at all those new rappers out there who have an extreme disdain for old school rap. I have to agree with ERP on this - new rap often has no musical flow, no rhyming powerÖitís like someoneís reading words out of a book. Take out your copies of A Tale of Two Cities and read the opening lines to music - thatís not rap, itís just a Paragraph!
The album is loaded with songs like this, imparting a message in a humorous tone and borrowing samples from Cherís Do You Believe in Love, Phil Collinsí One More Night and other non-rap songs. I have to admit, I loved 9 Mile (We Go the Extra Mile) from start to finish. I was impressed with the polished sound of this indie rap duo. Now that I have learned that this is all the work of one brilliant individual, I am even more impressed. I canít wait to hear more from Extreme Rap Duo in the future. In the mean time, I plan on telling everyone who will listen to me about the new rap artists from Portland, Oregon and their new album, 9 Mile!