When it comes to grimy bars evocative of that classic golden era sound, you can't go wrong with Elcamino. Today, the Griselda affiliate and all-around solid lyricist has come through with his brand new project Block Work, a ten-track effort that clocks in at a reasonable twenty-one minutes. Don't let the general brevity fool you. There's still plenty of bars found throughout the tape, beginning off the top with the filthy introductory cut "Avenue Thug" and continuing until closer "Right."
Sonically, Block Work is content to remain in its comfort zone, with dusty loops and hard-hitting boom-bap drums generally laying the foundation. In some cases, as on the minimalist "Driveway Music," the chosen samples evoke shades of the mafioso rap of yore. Others, like the bass-driven "Bucket Hat" find Elcamino catching a groovier pocket, showcasing a subtle but welcome versatility in his flow. Sometimes, as on midway cut "Impossible," he opts to pull back the drums damn-near altogether, a move often employed by his longtime associate Westside Gunn.
Should these qualities appeal to you, be sure to give Block Work a spin. For everyone wondering where "real hip-hop" went, consider this a stop worth taking on your quest for answers.