Lunar Heights 

Crescent Moon EP

From the gangster stylings of RBL Posse, Dru Down, and E-40 to the enlightened disposition of the Hieroglyphics and Hobo Junction crews -- to say nothing of Tupac or Hammer -- the Bay Area has long claimed a spot on the hip-hop map. Locally, we've been on the backslide for several years. But newer crews like the Crown City Rockers and turntablist wunderkinds the Oakland Faders have begun restoring that glory, and though Crescent Moon acts as a showcase for both of them, first and foremost, this EP's fruit represents ten years of partnership for the triumvirate known as Lunar Heights.

Lunar Heights principal MCs Sizwe and Jern Eye met way back in 1995 at a Southern California high school. By '99, they'd moved to Oakland and added DJ and MC Khai as the final piece of their troika. Odd that it's taken so long to get a record out, but when Crescent opener "Prove 'Em Wrong" kicks in, the soulful string arrangements and struttin' looped beat hits you with a perfect amalgam of soul and intelligent narratives that should make Souls of Mischief jealous.

The record carries itself from track to track with ease, aided by momentum from party tunes like "Black Bubbles" (produced by Crown City B-boy Headnodic and Ruthless Fader DJ Platurn) that teem with humor and rocking beats. The lyrics are equally astute, showcasing a real love and admiration for the world around them. But don't ignore another important inspiration: Crescent features a number of shout-outs to Rastafarianism, especially on the track "Lick Shot!," a plea for peace mixed with adoration for Haile Selassie. From religion and politics to love and respect, this release is the culmination of ten long years of love, life, and living.

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