Gutterfly: the Original Soundtrack

It's particularly appropriate that the title track to the latest album by the Portland-based Lifesavas features Camp Lo, since the album is almost eerily reminiscent of CL's classic 1997 release Uptown Saturday Night. Like Uptown, Gutterfly takes its inspiration from '70s blaxploitation movies — it's billed as an original soundtrack (to a nonexistent film), and Vursatyl and Jumbo da Garbageman's nimble flows duck, dip, and dive à la Camp Lo's Sonny Chiba and Geechy Suede. Even more telling — one track features Ish (aka Digable Planets' Butterfly, who executive-produced Camp Lo), while another features Smif 'n' Wessun, suggesting that hip-hop's salad days in the '90s had just as much seminal influence on Vurs and Jum as Richard Roundtree flicks. But while the originality of this release from local label Quannum may be questionable, its degree of inspiration isn't — there hasn't been this good a hip-hop concept album since Prince Paul and Organized Konfusion's zenith, and any contemporary rap effort featuring both Fishbone and George Clinton is worth a listen. Gutterfly is easily the Lifesavas' best album to date. By the time the retro-revolutionary anthem "Freedom Walk" (with dead prez and Vernon Reid) rolls around, you'll gladly trade in your airbrushed dead-rapper T for a dashiki to sing along to this badassssssssss song.


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