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Artist: Trend Setters

Song: “No Friends” (from the CD Cali Crunk Vol. 1)

Heard By: Graham Goodenough, College Area

It was generic, standard, recent hip-hop that’s got that Southern beat — kind of slowed down almost like “chopped and screwed” music. At first, the beat is almost like Lil Jon took some ecstasy and went to a hardcore rave and then when the lyrics come in it’s just like any other Southern rap song. The lyrics aren’t really too deep, so I didn’t pay that much attention to it right off the bat. Personally, I don’t like the way hip-hop is being commercialized — the sound is just too repetitive. I used to have 98.9 and 90.3 on my radio dials, and now I don’t even really check them out anymore. It just sounds so similar to everything else. I grew up on Tupac and Biggie — when rap was at its highest point.

Artist: Off Track

Song: “Explode” (from the CD Explode)

Heard By: Ben Lopez, Paradise Hills

I thought it was pretty good. I’d probably give them a six or seven out of ten. It sounded like a blink-182/Fall Out Boy combo. The guitar work and some of the keyboards reminded me a lot of blink-182. I guess it’s alternative rock, but to me it’s a little on the pop side. It was a catchy tune, pretty upbeat. It’s got a catchy hook to it. Musically, they were pretty tight. When I’m working or something like that, it’s not what I’d be listening to. It’s not, like, a relaxing type of music. It’s not quite my musical taste. I like Radiohead and a lot of metal, too. I love music, though, and anybody that can do that, I’m pretty impressed with.

Artist: Stranger

Song: “Takin’ It Slow” (from the CD Shelter from the Storm)

Heard By: Toni Pope, Mission Hills

As a whole, I think all of the musicians were superb. They played well and were a very tight band. You could tell that they’ve been together for a long time. I’m a connoisseur of new and experimental music, and this particular CD was a little bit mainstream. So on that mainstream vibe, yeah, it’s good, but I would love to hear them do something new and experimental. There’s definitely a strong reggae base. I just got Bob Marley’s Babylon by Bus the other day, and the bass lines I hear are very similar to the Wailers’. I would say folks would enjoy it. Anybody who’s into reggae music would definitely appreciate this band.

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