Brown Bag AllStars' Smack-Talking Throwback

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Featuring employees of the venerable Manhattan record store Fat Beats, Brown Bag AllStars' MCs and producers possess a boundless love for boom-bap hip-hop. But their music is hungry and urgent rather than nostalgic or backwards-looking, and The Brown Tape — a digital mixtape released by Coalmine Records — is full of sharp breakbeats, scratching and old-fashioned battle rhymes. Named for a love of beverages imbibed out of paper sacks, the collective mixes the golden-era sound of its tunes with a blitzkrieg of good-natured braggadocio.

Wednesday's Pick

  • Song: "Undeniable (Audible Doctor Remix)"
  • Artist: Brown Bag AllStars
  • CD: The Brown Tape
  • Genre: Hip-Hop
Brown Bag AllStars i

In "Undeniable," the Manhattan collective Brown Bag AllStars pays tribute to classic hip-hop. courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of the artist
Brown Bag AllStars

In "Undeniable," the Manhattan collective Brown Bag AllStars pays tribute to classic hip-hop.

courtesy of the artist

Perhaps the most fun and energizing track on the album is beat maker Audible Doctor's remix of "Undeniable." The song serves as an introduction to Brown Bag AllStars' members, who include J57, Koncept, DJ Goo Punch, E Holla, Deejay Element and Soul Khan. The show is stolen by Soul Khan, who has called himself the best battle-rapper in the city and goes about backing up that claim with off-color verses like, "Beg for forgiveness / Professor of slickness / Who the f—- made rap the Special Olympics?" By sticking with the puns, jokes and silly one-upsmanship that once defined the genre, the Brown Baggers don't set about trying to reinvent rap's wheel on this well-crafted earworm. Thank goodness for that.

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