Hip-hop is such a studio-oriented genre that in a live setting it's often reduced to a parade of programmed beats and synchronized arm waving. Mojoe, a local hip-hop/R&B group fronted by MCs Easy Lee and T.R.E., faces the opposite challenge. With its live band instrumental backing and the soulful singing chops of both frontmen, Mojoe is a scintillating live act. The question raised by its debut CD, Classic Ghetto Soul, is whether the group can translate that chemistry to disc.
In a way, Classic dodges the issue, because much of its music was tracked by Mingo Fishtrap's Roger Blevins, before Easy Lee and T.R.E. assembled their current band lineup. Even so, Blevins manages to create a formidable one-man soul groove to rival Mojoe's current live sound. In "True Jewels," the two MCs lay down their manifesto, expressing their desire to reach for the heights of R&B's immortals. In doing so, they separate themselves from peers who are going after short-term rewards: "While you shine/I grind/and that's fine/cuz 20 years from now they bumping mine."
| Classic Ghetto Soul |
(available at Ingram Mall's Sam Goody, and at www.cdbaby.com/mojoe)