7L and Esoteric
Wallflowers, beware: We're approaching a point in which leaning back will no longer be a suitable response to a banger. A dance-music revolution is taking hold of R&B (electro abounds!) and even hip-hop (snap music ain't snap music without the snapping). And it's no surprise the dance-rap fusion is being realized underground: At least half of the latest tracks from Boston-based duo 7L and Esoteric rushes by via accelerated tempos and clacking Bambaataa breaks. Even when 7L's beats aren't frenzied, they're still mechanical. "Reggie Lewis Is Watching" is Rubin-esque, with M.I.A.'s stomp. And while Esoteric may not be the greatest rapper (he most often sounds like fallen radio personality Star hijacking a Jay-Z flow), he takes nothing away from the beats. At the risk of sounding soft, he plunges right into the dance-oriented numbers, never sounding less than secure. (He points out he doesn't say "no homo" after a possible double entendre, because "I don't have to.") He's more man than rapper, a true rarity in hip-hop.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Houston, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.