Machete Ish Records

Press

(Machete Ish Records, digital download)

Jynx Inc have been creating hip-hop in southern Vermont for more than a decade now. Inspired by the dark, uncompromising styles of acts such as Army of the Pharaohs, Swollen Members and Jedi Mind Tricks, they've carved out a distinct niche in the local scene. Now core members Eyedos and Krypto Man are expanding their reach, lining up tour dates and releasing a new album, Machete Medley, which collects some of their best recent work.

The production, mostly handled by Eyedos, alternates between "just right" and "not enough." The beats aim toward hypnotic repetition, but results vary. "Forbidden Fruit" nails a pocket, but the same minimalism falls flat on "Titans" and "Last Chance Saloon." At the other extreme, tracks such as inspirational banger "Push Once More" or the trap-pop layering of "Outa Control" make it clear there's a lot of potential here.

The album opens with its worst track, "Supha Buddha Burna," a Casio-sounding ode to being stoned. Sample bars: "Tell you to clean out your ears and vape this here wax / on cloud nine, shooting the shit like an angel with a gat."

Things improve considerably from there, but the album remains haunted by poor quality control and flat performances. Both Eyedos and Krypto Man share a similar cadence — insistent, rough-edged, but oddly muted. Throughout Machete Medley, their more charismatic collaborators often outshine them.

Many of those guest spots are surprisingly high profile. Foul-mouthed battle legend Copywritedelivers an effortless gem alongside Vermont expat BURNTmd on "GITM." "Three Wize Men" features the super-prolific Canadian emcee Moka Only. The album takes a sharp turn with "Outa Control," a party anthem bookended by appearances from Intrinzik and Johnny Richter, the latter of the Kottonmouth Kings.

They also spotlight local talent, such as former Jynx Inc member Ruff NEK, aka Whyte Devil, aka Big Dex. Brattleboro artist Capa 3 makes three appearances, including standout "Pick Your Poison," a concept track about GMO conspiracies.

The sound quality is consistently inconsistent. That's inevitable with a collection of tracks spanning a few years. Besides, as a testament to their local scene — and a love letter to 1990s hip-hop projects you could only find online — it's on point.

Yet it's hard to say if genre faithful will embrace Machete Medley. Gone are the days when homemade CD-Rs could start careers and college radio stations could launch record labels. Between the big-budget tour productions of Tech N9ne to the technical chops and killer hooks of young artists such as Hopsin or Joey Bada$$, even underground rap is major-label quality now.

With more tour dates on the horizon and a product to push, Jynx Inc are set to make a name for themselves in the months to come. That experience will surely inform their next project, which is likely to transcend the learning curve documented here.

Jynx Inc appear on Thursday, July 28, at the Sound Affects showcase at ArtsRiot in Burlington. Machete Medley is available on iTunes.

(Self-released, digital download)

Serial killing, drug binges and death camps are not topics that come up when you think about Vermont hip-hop. Buckle up, though. All are touchstones on Guerrilla Bars, the debut album from Eyedos, a Burlington rapper keen to carve his own lane.

Eyedos has been a longtime member of Jynx Inc., the local horror-core rap purists who honor the legacy of underground legends such as Jedi Mind Tricks and Non Phixion. These guys ain't Juggalos, in other words. Guerrilla Bars is an earnestly traditional hip-hop project. But it presents a vibe that's much more Fight Club mosh pit than Afrika Bambaataa block party.

Throughout the album, Eyedos displays serious growth. He comes off as a much more confident, capable rapper than ever before. The difference is clear early on.

The second track, "Perfect Crime," is a slow, atmospheric space jam from DJ Hakal and an album highlight. Eyedos scales down the volume but maintains energy, and the result is compelling. It also sets the bar for a project full of surprises. The rapper hasn't toned down the content. But this is a much more mature — and musical — album than expected.

The cover and title are a nod to Sean Price's 2005 album, Monkey Barz. But the influences and references don't stop there. Eyedos draws from Outkast as much as Wu-Tang Clan, and his chopping delivery — and limb-hacking imagery — owe a lot to Brotha Lynch Hung and Tech N9ne's speed-rap nightmares.

Mostly self-recorded, Guerrilla Barsis both an artistic statement and a professional product. Eyedos builds from a classic blueprint for a proper rap LP. There's a killer posse cut, a ballad about the past, a political manifesto, even a lyrical club anthem. This could have come out on Rawkus Records in '99.

The high-profile guest appearances hail from that same era, including C-Rayz Walz and Rakaa Iriscience of Dilated Peoples. To top it off, there's even a track with Kool G Rap, "Gun Smoke," which is a radio-ready banger about ... well, exactly what you think. No surprises there.

For all his newfound subtlety, Eyedos spends most of Guerrilla Barssnarling detailed threats over huge, loud beats. Yet shock rap in 2017 has become a flat circle, a subculture where notorious cannibals and famous atrocities are referenced alongside Drew Carey and Skeletor. (Skeletor actually comes up a lot.)

So, the real news is the melodic creativity and budding studio savvy Eyedos brings to bear. His polished hooks — especially on "Gun Smoke," "American Angster" and "Something to Say" — are a world apart from his previous work with Jynx Inc.

Are those touches enough to keep Guerrilla Bars interesting? Your mileage may vary. There is much to offend here, and it's an understatement to say the album isn't for everyone. It is a solid debut effort, though, and establishes Eyedos as a major new local voice — severed heads and all.

Guerrilla Bars by Eyedos is available at 

Macheteish.com, iTunes, Amazon, CDbaby, and bandcamp.

 

MET - "Survival" ft Raw Deff

https://eyedos.bandcamp.com/track/survival-feat-raw-deff-eyedos-x-trono-x-polar-beers

Perpetual release date rollbacks are, perhaps, the fifth element of hip hop. "Detox Dropping Soon" set the tone for a decade of both commercial and indie rap, a new era where social media made it easier than ever to announce new projects -- and somehow, harder than ever to finish them.

That's why a genuine work ethic stands out. Eyedos has been on a serious tear in 2017, following up his epic solo album Guerrilla Bars with a new group project, MET. That's short for Minds Eye Tribe, and there's a heavy Army of the Pharaohs vibe on this lead single, "Survival" -- just some classic summer "rape your bitch" jams, you know?

Eyedos also mixed and mastered this, which is worth mentioning because this is a very professional sounding product. As his skillset continues to expand and improve, he's becoming a major asset to the scene.

"Survival" is a preview single -- joining Eyedos and Raw Deff on the mic here, we've got Trono from Self Portrait and Polar Beers, which is one of the best rap names I've ever seen in the 802.

This MET jawn won't even be the last Eyedos full-length project we see this year: there's also a JYNX Inc comeback album coming out on Halloween. He understands the paradox of staying visible in an over-saturated world -- the more momentum you gather, the harder you have to work. Salute the hustle.

Eyedos - "Buried IN Barre"

https://youtu.be/d4Whz93d_oM

Summer of Love 2017 continues.Vermont has never been known for rap beef, but when it rains, well...it's monsoon season, bud. After shots from Judge Da Beast and M. Rich of Bar None The Best -- and a response track from Colby Stiltz -- now Eyedos is getting involved.

I'm not entirely clear on how Eyedos got drawn into this -- it's not like he's out here repping STILTZgang. But I'm betting it involves Facebook. This beef has been a classic study in conflict: war is all about unintended consequences, and those begin immediately.
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"Buried IN Barre" is definitely the hardest shot so far. Unlike "Beef Stew," it's an actual diss track, and Eyedos has bars for days. This is also the best production, on all fronts. Wherever our Summer of Love goes from here, hopefully the quality control stays this good.

As they used to say in Europe: ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?