okayplayer goes to Work

Posting that Wale interview reminded me that The Paxtons' Work was recently reviewed on the site. Check it out:

Inspired in part by the classic Kevin Smith film Clerks, Chicago-bred and Washington Metropolitan area based artists, The Paxtons, aim to paint a picture of a fictional summer involving their exploits on their self-produced latest mixtape, Work. The loose concept unravels early on but it’s hardly a detriment, as what’s left in its wake is mostly enjoyable. Choosing to rhyme over extremely obvious loops and breaks, it all presents itself as familiar in sound. Yet, the inoffensive and amicably paired rhymes from MCs Chris and Dave do just enough to keep pace.

The album begins with “Once Again,” and the soulful production helps the straight-ahead rhymes of Chris and Dave. The introductory piece sets up “Bread & Water,” which openly borrows the same track and sample (although slightly varied) as Q-Tip’s “Ride” single. The swingy hook and raps from the MCs work to great effect and keeps the track moving along gracefully. The mixtape hits an early snag with “Just Tonight” with a corny attempt at a jam for the ladies (or the club) fails miserably. The feature from capable rapper Ra The MC nearly saves the track. The track also features some slick R&B styling from vocalist Teluv – still, the song falls flat on its face. Things get back on track with “Free My Mind ‘09” thankfully. The MCs display punch-line heavy swagger and rights the ship after the disaster before it. “Theme Music,” thus far the mixtape’s hardest track, is an aggressive and nearly angry track from the group. Chris’ delivery is so fierce and relentless, it begs several rewinds but Dave’s verse matches the intensity - a very welcomed, early highlight.

“Atlas” employs a slow, slinky groove and features some amazing vocals from Teluv. The MCs deliver once again and the somber mood present in the voices of Chris and Dave bolster the backing track. “Instant Love” features decent production and a solid concept but performance wise, it lacks any true punch. “La La” puts the mixtape back on track with the MCs in their best lane – which is just delivering confident rhymes and never doing too much to undo themselves. The mixtape closes with “Closing Credits,” a fitting end to a very solid, if lyrically safe, release. The MCs do just enough to keep in step with the decent production through out the mixtape. No, The Paxtons aren’t lyrical world changers but what they do well is highlighted many times over on this release.

Big shout out to D.L. Chandler for the review. Obviously, I hold Work in high regard, but the entire team appreciates the review. Good, bad or indifferent, Chris and Dave just want to get the music out to the people.

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