Constant Deviants have built up a reputation for delivering quality hip hop during a career that spans two decades, and their latest offering, Avant Garde, is no exception.
The duo – consisting of rapper M.I. and producer DJ Cutt – first unleashed their combined talents on the world in the form of ‘Competition Catch Speed Knots’ in 1996; a single that propelled them into the record collections of many hip hop connoisseurs. Since then they have steadily honed their craft. M.I.’s gift on the mic earned him a solo deal at Arista; while Cutts’ meticulous production saw him provide beats for various Roc-A-Fella artists.
Avant Garde, their fourth album, is a continued display of the pair’s creative chemisty. ‘M’s for Millennium’ sees M.I. cleverly make use of words beginning with the letter ‘M’ to weave a tongue twisting tale that ultimate ends up with some class scratching from Cutt on a beat subtle yet present enough to host M.I’s laid back flow. A melodic chorus on ‘Side B’ perfectly frames M’s reflective mood, while Cutt manages to somehow make electronica seem right at home on ‘Machine Gun’.
‘Whatever You Call It’ is a jazz tinged track reminiscent of a film noir caper, and M’s rhymes on ‘U Know What’ are just as impactful as the bass heavy beat he is spitting over. Aye Wun is the only feature on the 14 track project. The pair rap over a beat so dreamy, it’s the perfect accompaniment to a song primarily about realising their potential in the music game.
This is definitely one for fans of well-constructed rhymes and beats you can get lost in. While staying true to their Golden Era roots, Constant Deviants have managed to deliver an album that is still accessible to those just beginning their exploration of hip hop.