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Aaron LaCrate and Debonair Samir 

B-More Club Crack (Koch)

Wednesday, Mar 25 2009
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It's easy to say what Baltimore club music isn't: It isn't Miami bass, Bay Area hyphy, Chicago house, New York hip-hop, D.C. go-go, Atlanta crunk, or Detroit techno. Yet it contains elements of all those genres, along with a unique urban sensibility that can only be described as Baltimorean. A hybrid of hardcore rap and electronic dance music, the 15 tracks on B-More Club Crack, produced by Aaron LaCrate and Debonair Samir, combine gritty, attitudinal street lyricism with body-moving beats. The detuned 808s that run through Mz Streamz' "Everybody on It" are dense enough to challenge the low-frequency response of the most capable subwoofers. Other songs switch among two or three different basslines, underlining the importance of the low end in B-more club music.

The crack reference in the album's title refers to both the music's addictive qualities and the genre's close relationship with the 'hoods of the mid-Atlantic metropolis. It's easy to imagine thumping midtempo tracks like Verb featuring Eliza Doolittle's "Rockin with the Best," King Slixta's "Hit the Road," or Tim Trees' "F.I.R.E." playing during an episode of The Wire. The HBO crime drama, famously shot in Baltimore, appropriately gets name-checked by Mullyman's "The Real Is Back." Ultimately, B-More Club Crack is akin to a new drug whose side effects include chest-stomping, arm-waving, and temporary, bass-driven insanity.

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Eric K. Arnold

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