Music » CD Reviews

Lo Down

The Foundation (Ill-Type)

by

comment
These days, it's rare that a hip-hop CD will have an "intro" that works. But simple as it might be, the opening track on Lo Down's debut, The Foundation, has a catchy beat and vocoder vocals that kick things off with a slightly retro, 2Pac-inspired sound. Rapper Marlo "Lo Down" Bloxson wrote all of the tracks on the 15-song album, and Ill-Type owner Gregory Morrison, a student at Kent State University, produced them. The samples Morrison and Bloxson choose suggest their influences -- they borrow beats from original hip-hop artists such as the Roots, Rah Digga, Mos Def, and Common.

Not afraid to slow things down for the groovy, jazz-oriented "Dough"; mimic Funkadelic on the overproduced "Megabyte"; or preach resistance with poetic eloquence in "The Revolution," a track that features guest appearances by local rapper Darque Phoenix, Bloxson doesn't adhere to just one style. Like the best rap artists, say Wyclef Jean or Prince Paul, Bloxson embraces a variety of sounds. The lazy beats in "Live It to the Limit" let Bloxson show off his rapping skills and flow. On occasion, he ends up in well-traveled territory -- in "Freak Hoz," he writes about loose, gold-digging women and fancy cars while a cacophony of discordant moans roars in the background. And then there's "Big Blunts," a harsh, DMX-meets-Bone Thugs tribute to smoking pot that has chest-thumping vocals and an insipid refrain. Two live songs, "Just Ice" and "Strategic," sound so rough and clunky next to the well-produced studio tracks, they're clearly out of place and disrupt the flow of what is an otherwise solid debut.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club


Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.


Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.


Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.