Nate Krooks

August 1, 2008

Still True (Dusty Fingerz/Tape Vault)

San Francisco hip-hop duo, Nate Krooks, smiles and cries on their first album, Still True, produced and mixed by beat junkie Deedot, with words from Kazwell. The 15-track record, filled with drawling, dreamy cigar room beats, accurately conveys the struggles of coming up in an underground world where nobody likes you. Deedot and Kazwell march into the music with a carnival, big show opening and hook listeners with a string line that will bring out your acoustic air guitar, if only for a second. The first snappy, positive, yet not ultimately technical lyrics and beats may bob some heads, but then they slow it down some. Through the middle, the album tucks into a smoke-filled jazz mode, cooed with blues horns and chased by piano. MC Kazwell recognizes the small everyday successes and efforts of street life, but watch out for a searing contradiction between "Lament," where the MC violates the "judge not" principle and "Don't Front," where he's quick to demand that "these cats need to stop judging [him]." -Dylan Silver

Magazine Section: