The Burnerz: Zumbi & The Are Present…

The Burnerz: Zumbi & The Are Present…
Following in the grand tradition of DANGERDOOM, Madvillain, Gnarls Barkley, and Reflection Eternal, The Burnerz are the latest in the rapper/producer super duo. The duo consists of rapper, Zumbi from Zion I and Houston producer The Are. Now neither of these names are as big as Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek or MF Doom and Danger Mouse or Madlib, but Zion I has been a respected member of Bay Area hip hop for the last decade and The Are has produced tracks for such artists as Keyshia Cole, Lil Kim, and Beenie Man among others. On the duo’s first collaborative album, they attempt to raise their prestige to the level of some of the other hip hop super duos mentioned.
If there is one thing all the super groups I mentioned have in common, it is that they were all critically successful. I see no reason for the same to not be true for The Burnerz. On the album, The Are’s production absolutely shines. The Are’s production is largely in the neo-soul vein. Tracks like “Changes” feature big horns reminiscent of Kanye West‘ “Touch the Sky”. “Jus Anotha Day” features harpsichord that reminds me of Cypress Hill.
With the type of production The Are puts out, all Zumbi has to do is not ruin the track with a sloppy or lackadaisical flow. Instead what Zumbi largely produces is some very solid, and often socially conscious, hip hop lyricism. On “Off the Wall”, Zumbi shows off his word play with lyrics like “verbal assassin, murder one was the case/any rapper trying to oppose, like thumb from an eight/next move, up with the noose and hung from the stage”. Zumbi goes a little more social on “PEACE”, he raps “few connections and usual suspects/grungy ass dummies always ready to bust texts/but not protection against the infection/the streets breed a virus to make hate and silence”.
After listening through the CD a couple of times there is only one weak track on the whole album. The track “Get Free (Run Come After)” has by far the weakest chorus and production on the album. It perhaps could be a passable track on a normal hip hop album, but The Burnerz have set such a high standard on their debut album that the track just does not pass the ear test.
If The Burnerz goal was to be mentioned in the same breath as other producer/rapper super duos, they have more than succeed. Their combination of spot on production and above average lyrics make them seem like a force to be reckoned with.
Rating: 9.3/10
MP3: The Burnerz “Changes”
Buy: iTunes

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