THROWBACK: Rhythm Ruckus - "Being Geniuses Together"
Rhythm Ruckus were/are a rap duo from Saxtons River, a village tucked into the town of Rockingham down in Windsor County. They had a hell of a run leading up to “Being Geniuses Together,” which wound up being their final LP. At least for now.
Consisting of Scribe1 and Doc C — formerly Dr. Caucasian — they rapped their asses off, played tons of shows, and recorded pro grade tracks with major league guest rappers from Breez Evahflowin to Kool G Rap. You can get the whole story from Scribe1 himself, who took the time to write the best Letter to the Editor that VTHH has received so far: read that here. “I invented Vermont rap and I'm not seeing the love necessary” will suffice for now.
The album itself is lean, mean rap purist shit. BGT is all chopped, smoky loops and hella obscure vocal samples, a packed aesthetic that favors fast-moving songs. It also captures the vibe of their crushing live shows, especially the back-to-back attack of “Shadow & Fog” into “Soft Language” — two of the best cuts on no-fat tracklist. It’s easy to hear what these beats would do at high volumes in confined spaces.
Both rappers give approximately 110% on BGT, which is inevitable: that’s the whole point of Rhythm Ruckus. “A well-timed, studied attack," as Doc C puts it on the hook to “VTHG.” (Which unpacks to “Vermont Home Grown.”) These are two educated heads, bringing a diverse vocabulary of flow patterns that adapts to every beat. It’s distinctly East Coast, as much Mobb Deep as Def Jux, but you can tell they both came up listening to everything.
There are also genuinely good hooks here, something which never fails to surprise me on rap LPs. “Everybody Does It!” chops some 80’s New Wave jawn into a driving, radio-ready single that doesn’t sound remotely “crossover” or “pop.” Which is impressive. It’s the invisible 5th Element of behind-the-scenes calculations and quality control that always separated Rhythm Ruckus from the herd.
As a swan song, Being Geniuses Together couldn’t be a better artifact. It captures the crew at the top of their game and it definitely stands as one of the best 802 rap albums from any era. It also stands as, well … pretty much all the credentials they need to talk as much shit as they like. Let’s put it that way.
So: a toast to some legends. Bump the album, get familiar, know the name. Cheers.
“All these albums were self produced/recorded. All the beats were made by guys from Vermont.
Listen to these. Take time to review them on your site. Let people know a dynasty was born, ruled and collapsed 150 miles south of you.