Posted by Robert
Rap News Network
7/24/2004 11:57:29 AM
Tags and topics realted to this article include Cool Nutz and N2Deep.
Terrance "Cool Nutz" Scott might relate to Mark Twain: The rumors of his demise have been greatly exaggerated.
Since he released the strongest album of his career, 2001's "Verbal Porn," Portland has heard little in the way of new music from Cool Nutz. His prospective deal with Universal went up in smoke after its mega-merger with PolyGram resulted in some 250 artists being cut loose. Subsequent distribution problems with "Verbal Porn" meant that Cool Nutz's music never found the broader audience it deserves; these issues delayed other releases on his Jus' Family label and a lengthy period of litigation as he fought to protect what he'd created.
During this self-imposed quiet period, new Portland rap acts such as Lifesavas went on to national acclaim -- ironic, given Cool Nutz's vocal support of the group. (Indeed, Lifesavas' Vursatyl recorded his initial demo at Cool Nutz's house.)
After nearly being ground down by the machinery of the music industry, most would agree that Cool Nutz would be justified in sitting it out by now.
Instead, he has released "Collabos," a compilation of collaboration between Cool Nutz and some of hip-hop's finest artists from Portland (Maniac Lok, B-Legit, G-Ism, KennyMack, Bosko) and beyond (Jay Tee of N2Deep, Yukmouth of the Luniz).
The record serves as something of a historical treatise on Cool Nutz's recorded legacy, including tracks that span the entirety of his career plus new cuts that reintroduce Cool Nutz and his label mates to the Portland hip-hop scene he largely created.
Despite his credentials, Cool Nutz has never earned the critical or popular recognition his work deserves. While his general style works squarely within a subgenre of hip-hop, G-Funk, or what has often been called gangsta rap, that has been around for more than a decade, his voice is a distinctive instrument, instantly recognizable and smooth in flow and delivery.
Among such old favorites as 1997's "Behind the Scenes" (a track that interpolates Zaps "Dowa Ditty" to funky effect) are new cuts that are the strongest material on the record. "How We Build" is Cool Nutz's most inventive track ever, a guitar loop married to a shuffling "dirty South" beat that slides over your ears like Jell-O from a hot plate. Lead track "Rude Boy" is a good example of what Cool Nutz does best: tales from the 'hood told with a knowing sneer, to a backing track that toggles from skeletal to sweeping.
Cool Nutz may be something of a prophet without honor in Portland, but "Collabos" shows the scope of his achievements so far -- and a tantalizing hint of what's to come.
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