After a six-year hiatus, Themselves return on a rampage of heady rap wrung from hard-working hands. Of course, the duo of Jeffrey Jel Logan and Adam Doseone Drucker are never too far from the frontlines of good art and honest music. Last year, their Subtle sextet released its third album, the critically acclaimed and wildly adventurous ExitingARM, and a 2005 collaboration with Germanys the Notwist yielded the cult gem 13 & God. There have been solo offerings, guest appearances, and ceaseless touring, but not peep from the name behind 2002s left-field classic The No Music. That blessed interim has seen Doseone and Jel become the fearless musicians and exacting artists theyd always meant to be. Now, hungrier than ever, Themselves are here to scrawl a bold new chapter across raps too-stale tome. Furthermore, they set out to accomplish this feat unadorned, returning to hip-hops most cardinal and carnal form, the number two: the DJ and the MCneck-snapping beats and precision proseaccompanied by a little righteous indignation, of course.
Such things do have roots, naturally, and Themselves are as colorful as one would expect. Drucker was born in Napa, Idaho, to a hippie pair whose relationship wouldnt outlast its ideals. Logan was raised in Chicago by Pentecostal parents. While the former spent his preteen years bouncing between Philadelphia and New Jersey, surviving by his mile-a-minute wit and ceaseless imagination, Logan nursed an early love for the decidedly safe sounds of Chuck Berry into raging crush on the unhinged backbone of rap music: beats. Hed pump gas in order to save up for the hallowed SP-1200 drum machine (of which hes now a renowned master); Drucker would hone his unmatched rap styles in street battles before moving to Cincinnati in his late teens. In that citys annual Scribble Jam competition, as Doseone, he famously battled Eminem in a final-round showdownas well as one of his idols, Freestyle Fellowships P.E.A.C.E.and the experience left him hollow. Meanwhile, Jel had forged a sound unto himself, but couldnt find a voice able to keep pace. In 1998, tapes were exchanged through the venerable DJ Mr. Dibbs, and history came to be made.
Of that initial meeting, much would be born: Doseones ambitious, self-released debut Hemispheres (1998); Themselves seminal unveiling, Them (1999); the landmark collaborative project, Deep Puddle Dynamics (also featuring Sole, Alias and Atmospheres Slug); and the Anticon label itself. Soon, Dose and Jel moved to Oakland in order to spark a movement with Anticons other co-founders, two of which (Odd Nosdam, and Yoni Wolf of WHY?) were in yet another celebrated group with Drucker, the eternally lauded cLOUDDEAD. Since, Doseone and Jel have continued to challenge rapand our conception of music itselfevery step of the way. Through their joint projects and an impressive body of solo work (see 2006s Soft Money, by Jel, or Doseones self-released spoken-word album, Soft Skulls), these two have been nurturing the kind of legacy that only gets better with age. In 2009, Themselves return to a core thats been warming, strengthening, and expanding all the while.
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