If you can remember Beginning of the End's freaky single "Funky Nassau" from the early 1970s, then you're no stranger to the wildly energetic funk-soul era that passed 35 years ago. Portland, Ore. rappers Lifesavas invoke its spirit on Gutterfly, a pretend soundtrack to a nonexistent blaxploitation film that's set in a place called "Razorblade City."
The "film's" protagonists, Sleepy Floyd and Bumpy Johnson, meander through ghetto life across 17 tracks. The album's tone shifts from revved-up and anxious (on the title track) to reflective and spiritual ("Take Me Away"). Those moods symbolize Sleepy and Bumpy's divided life - reacting to the frantic world around them and looking for a way to transcend it.
Quannum Records, the label that's also home to amazing hip-hop talent like Pigeon John, continues to champion the most creative side of 21st-century rap. Gutterfly is no exception, showing that rap, like rock, may well be reinvented by indie experimentation.