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Common Market: Tobacco Road

By Kimberly Turnerreviews
Oct 15, 2008 - 7:13 PM


 
Listen to "Tobacco Road"

Seattle hip-hip duo Common Market is hoping to replace coffee as the number one cash crop in the Emerald City with their newest release Tobacco Road. Unfortunately for them, the birth place of Starbucks will not be trading their caffeine for nicotine anytime soon.

Common Market, composed of Kentucky-born emcee RA Scion and Blue Scholars producer Sabzi, go hard on the opener “Trouble Is.” Blaring organs take you to church while RA Scion spits his sermon with the tenacity of an evangelical pastor. It’s arguably the best track on the album with RA Scion jumping from a relaxed delivery to kicking it into “double time” like Billy Blanks in a Tae Bo aerobics video. The energy of Tobacco Road sputters out for the next five songs then punches the listener in the face with a fistful of bleak imagery on the domestic violence themed “Weather Vane.” It’s just as depressing as Nirvana’s “Something in the Way” but less compelling.

Watch "Trouble Is"

Near the end, Tobacco Road is rescued by the other half of Blue Scholars, emcee Geologic on “Crucible.” A catchy chorus and contrast from RA Scion’s preachy vocals provide a much needed reprieve for ears that--at this point in the disc--have been over-lectured. Ultimately it makes me wish I was listening to a Blue Scholars album instead.

With 18 tracks, Tobacco Road is 10 songs too long and many of them sound the same. It’s not that RA Scion is a horrible lyricist, he just didn’t apply himself. Perhaps he was trying to channel the poor sharecropper in the Erskine Caldwell 1930s novel that shares the album’s title. Either way, at the rate Tobacco Road is traveling, hip-hop will definitely not be Seattle’s new “grunge.”

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Kimberly Turner is Oh Dang!'s resident music critic and pastry fiend. And No, she's not fat.



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