THE FIVE SPOT: Sed One of Boomslang

Photo :  Sed One  with the  Backline Collective  last year.

Photo: Sed One with the Backline Collective last year.

The Boomslang team have been anchors for hip hop in Montpelier. They’re party-rocking, they’re true-school, they’re high-energy — all that and more, for sure. But they’re also just plain good dudes, and you’d be hard pressed to find a single soul in this state who would speak sideways about producer JL or emcee Sed One.

So with an upcoming solo appearance at The Monkey House’s venerable 3rd Thursdays series, I reached out to my highly credentialed, dreadlocked friend for some local picks. As you might expect, he came through with gusto. Enjoy.

Learic & Es-k - Amen ft. Jarv

The whole Thought Instruments album is a masterpiece, but Amen stands out. Es-K provides the perfect soundscape, imbued with wild, almost tribal samples amidst a jungle of pulsating drums and textures. Nowhere is Rakim’s influence on Learic more apparent than on this track, as he roars into action and delivers 16 bars of fire that are equal parts sermon and lyrical workshop. Learic drops memorable lines faster than you can pick them up, requiring multiple listening sessions to soak it all in. Lines like “Howl like a werewolf reading Ginsberg/ I insert my pen into the mind of a listener/ I make a yell sound like a whisper / travel to hell and back to make a track feel crisper” showcases his deep knowledge, love, and dedication to the art form. Jarv picks up the flow in a seamless transition, spitting a dope verse that showcases his clever rhyme patterning, sense of humor, and ability to flow over any beat with ease and rock mics with the best of them.

Learic and Skysplitter - The Theorist

This album is a bold and expansive project that manages to fuse hip hop, theatre, and literature into a fresh and experimental sound that defies definitions and yet stays true to each of the different genres. Learic’s writing has never been tighter and more natural. The narrative is strong, the characters are believable, and the plot evolves in unexpected ways, guiding the listener through an unexpected tale of mystery and suspense. Skysplitter, as always, is razor sharp and the production is crisp. The beats are thematic and lush, providing the perfect soundtrack for the Learic’s poignant storytelling. The Theorist is my favorite track on the album for so many reasons, mostly because the sinister beat so perfectly showcases the genius of Learic’s vision and for the way the story explodes into clarity halfway through the song.

GOODWTHR - How It Used 2 Be (ft. DJ SKRUFF) produced by JL

“When you imagine back, life was so easy. It's why I teleport when I write, these flows please me.” Pro is one of my favorite MCs, so to hear him on a JL beat is an incredible treat. Pro slays on this track with that straightforward, no nonsense delivery that makes him such a prolific and potent MC. JL delivers a classic old school boom-bap head nodding banger that carries the entire track from start to finish. No surprise, but he definitely raised the bar on this one. Kin comes through with a fiery but fun and nostalgic verse, once again showing just how dope the Aztext family are. This track has been on repeat for weeks at my house for sure.

Old Growth Souljourner - Swing the Hammer

I first met Old Growth Souljourner at the Monkey House and was immediately impressed with his unorthodox reggae-infused flows, heady lyrics, and powerful stage presence. It wasn’t until months later, after we rocked a 30 minute freestyle set as a last minute opening act for Jahdan Blakkamoore, that we decided to combine forces. Old Growth, The Kung Fu Dreadlock, spits dope bars on Swing the Hammer and is an unstoppable force. Always dealing in his immediate reality, this track locks in on and illuminates the struggle to find meaning and purpose in the world. Old Growth and I are currently working on a number of tracks and will be unleashing them on the populace at the Monkey House on October 17th.

Boomslang - Grim Reaper ft. Champagne Dynasty

Grim Reaper was the result of a collaboration with Champagne Dynasty, one of my favorite bands of all time. Some songs write themselves, as if they were always there, just waiting for you to stumble upon them. A chance comment, overheard, provides the spark and the rest just falls into place. JL’s beat slays, Alexis Hurley on the hook and back up vocals destroys, and thanks to some additional and mysterious production assistance and inspiration we were able to craft one of the best Boomslang songs of all time. This group of musicians is my dream team, and working with them was such a gift. Although Boomslang hasn’t been playing many live shows, we are hard at work on another album and looking forward to dropping it next year. Maybe we’ll get Champagne Dynasty back for another track!

Justin Boland