Chris Donaghey
Reviews Editor
February 23, 2006
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Rock Music Reviews
Pumpkinhead
Orange Moon Over Brooklyn

Marco! Polo! This isn't just a poolside call-and-response from bygone summer days, but the producer who heads up Pumpkinhead's latest release, Orange Moon Over Brooklyn. The two have coupled together to make a relic of the bygone days of hip hop. You can't exactly qualify a specific time period, but there's an aura of wonderful familiarity that surrounds this album. This is like the first time you heard Wu-Tang, Nas, or Slick Rick; the lyrical styles and music may not be the same, but the feelings revived are head-bob producing and smooth as an apple bottom.

The mission is stated immediately. "Alkaline 'n' Acid" opens it up with militaristic battle rap cadences over a lazy bump-n-grind with a sparse wind-ish loop. You can catch the "can't step to this" push that any rapper worth his ego exudes, but there's something more profound lurking underneath the surface. This man is not just posturing for dough; he has some serious flow. It has a myriad of moments that will demand for a stop, rewind, and repeat to pick up all that he puts down. In particular, "I Just Wanna Rhyme" uses Nas and Common samples slickly amongst his flurry of attack verses. Pumpkinhead's not just fucking around. He wants you to know that this is the truth. He 'loves rhymin'/it's more than a job/it's a passion.' And, for crying out loud, Marco Polo decides to sample A SILVER MOUNT ZION on 'Rock On'...and the flow within is just aces all around. That is more than enough to make indie rockers take note. On top of Polo's ingenius samples scattered about the album, there are excellent guest spots from everyone from Jean Grae (on the mellow closer "Anthem for the End of the World") to Supastition and Wordsworth (spitting back and forth over strings and crosscheck moments on "Trifactor").

This may not be the best listen to those engrossed in radio hip hop, but anyone who looks into this one will be pleasantly surprised to find an old friend. Orange Moon Over Brooklyn should rejuvenate interest in underground hip hop for any passers-by. For people who choose to do more than just give it a fleeting listen, there's a plethora of talent to be found. At the most susceptible times, it may even help you remember why hip hop has the potential to be such a cultural and social phenomenon in the first place.

Release date: August 23, 2005
Label: Soulspazm
Rating: 8.0 / 10

[RMR]