Sunday, October 9, 2011

Six 0s Make for a Positive Equation

The Lowdown, 10/9/11

Back in February of this year at a Busdriver and Dark Time Sunshine concert in Berkeley, I was offered this CD by a guy who I can only assume was Sixo (is that pronounced "Six-O" or "Six-Zero"?) himself. He initially offered to sell me the album for cheap, but I hesitated for several reasons and ended up turning him down on the offer. Aside from keeping myself on a very strict merch buying budget at shows, the cover and presentation of Sixo's "Fruits of Labor" sort of turned me off from it. Not that the art is bad persay, but something about the layout of the text and font on the cover made it look like some sorta half-assed mixtape to me. Plus, the name seemed a little too close to "Sixtoo" for my liking. In the end, Sixo just ended up giving me his album for free, and I've been procrastinating on writing about how dope it is on this blog ever since.

I should note that a lot of random CDs that artists hand to me at shows end up gathering dust in a neat little pile next to my stereo speakers (sorry guys!), but Sixo's album has been one that's stuck with me and that I've continued to bump ever so often since I've received it. For starters, it's worth noting that Sixo roped in quite a cast of talented MCs to participate on this project. Squint hard enough and you might see their names listed at the top of the album cover: Awol One, Existereo, Ceschi and 2Mex. All of these artists contribute verses worthy of their reputations on multiple songs over the course of "Fruits of Labor" while Sixo handles the music side of things. These collabo tracks are all dope, but a special hats off goes to the Ceschi songs, particularly "Snow Balls" which is a pitch perfect song that shows off both Ceschi's talents as a songwriter and Sixo's talents as a producer . And speaking of Sixo the producer, it'd be unfair to cover "Fruits of Labor" without mentioning that his beats are pretty damn great throughout. While the first half of the album showcases Sixo's music with MCing over it, the second half is largely instrumental and gives you a sense that Sixo could be getting along just fine without the rapper help. His beats are very grimy in a good way, and sound like they could have come straight from a carefully wound cassette tape. It reminded a bit of the production that Chicago's Green Llama's use on projects like Uncut Raw or City Slick, but it has it's own flavor to it. The only track that felt like a slight misstep to me was the one where Sixo's Texan rap crew Dialex Kemposed came on to rap, as I didn't like all of their verses (though Sixo's jangly beat was a saving grace).

Anyway, this album is surprisingly good, and you can purchase copies of it for under 10 dollars over at my favorite hip hop store in the whole wide world Access Hip Hop. I also hear that Sixo has a new album in the works, appropriately entitled "000000," which features the likes of Ceschi, Onry Ozzborn, Barfly, Myka 9, Existereo, Sole, Moka Only, etc. I will be purchasing this new one for sure and will announce more details about it when they become available. Until then, peep the track "Snow Balls" from "Fruits of Labor" below:

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