Though still young as an art form (at least compared to other American musics), hip-hop has always defined itself with nonstop innovation and speed: Whatever new beat (or move or look) arises in one corner of the rap world gets quickly copied and modified in another. Periodic reactions to this dynamic find MCs and producers eschewing outsize boasts and trends in favor of a focus on the craft: beats, rhymes, and life (to quote old masters A Tribe Called Quest). Local duo the Doppelgangaz falls squarely in this camp.
To tell the truth, "local" is a bit of an estimation; though the pair is based in Orange County and New York, Matter ov Fact and EP describe their current whereabouts as "parts unknown." They prefer a degree of shadowy anonymity, and feature shared credits on their skillful yet consistent-to-a-fault CD, Lone Sharks.
The record's so flatly homogeneous—mid tempo beats, glumly evocative samples, and tried-and-true rhyme schemes predominate—that at times it comes off as a hip-hop how-to reel. Which has its pros and cons: There are definitely no bummer tracks, and the pair has a vocal chemistry that seems developed over years (a photo in the artwork shows them together as kids). But you can't help but want more standout cuts like the slinky "Like What Like Me," which has a clever exotica sample and neck-cracking beat backing the pair's R-rated musings on sex and romance.