Ultra Proteus

On the beginning of “Hey Y'all” — a track from Approach's Ultra Proteus full-length, a buffed-up version of his 2002 debut EP — the Kansas City MC makes his intentions clear: “It's time to do Grandma's funky popcorn.” While the indie rapper may name-check such rap luminaries as A Tribe Called Quest, Jurassic 5, and Jay Dilla on “The Opus (Erhen's Groove),” he lets you know how he's hard-wired on “David Maxelrod Interlude,” as guest vocalist Mac Lethal suggests his “brain is autographed by Kool & the Gang.” Forget about samples of '60s and '70s soul; instead, Approach favors live licks and hearty riffs, as sticky as gum on a warm sidewalk. Like James Brown (“Everybody say yeaarrrggh!”), the MC realizes that what you say isn't nearly as important as how you say it. He meticulously slips his playful couplets inside the beat, like Cinderella gleefully working her way through Imelda Marcos' shoe closet. The result is striking — Grandma's dance music popped with a fresh new flavor.

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