Bruce Leroy, ‘10’’ (self-released)
Bruce Leroy is a Tacoma emcee with more artistic perspective than that city’s young guns, and his “10’” EP (the apostrophe in the title means ‘foot’) shows he can stay traditional without being corny. The key is to play to your strengths and embrace your idiosyncrasies. Crucial tracks “Know the Biz” and “You Heard of Us” are uncluttered lessons in the art of the slumper, beats coolly dragging as Leroy puts the pedal to the metal (lyrically).
On “Intro” he’s rapping old-school jive, with tangled basketball references over jazzy instruments. Throughout the EP, there are choruses made from Biggie Smalls lyrics, references to historical footnotes like backpack-rap (a bygone era) and stoned-yet-precise multi-syllabic rhymes.
Digital kids might not care about any of that and might miss lines about “belt-driven Geminis.” That’s OK. His lyrics portray a life which is perhaps more gangster than yours, too, but you don’t have to be him to get him. He occupies a space that is exceptional and yet down to earth, like a basketball-playing older brother who doesn’t seem like he’s moving that fast, but then there he is, blocking your shot.
Other new releases
Bette Midler, “It’s the Girls” (Warner Bros)
Neil Young, “Storytone” (Reprise)
Bob Dylan, “Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11″ (Legacy)