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Reality Bites

"Hip-hop has lost its integrity," declares Athens-based emcee, Ishues.

For a self-described hip-hop consumer, he has harsh judgment on the culture he embraces: "Rappers used to be all about telling the truth and doing it in their own unique way. Now they're all biting each other's style," says Ishues.

"People are using the same producers and driving Ferraris and motorcycles with big chains around their necks like they're rich. I've seen what a major label contract looks like and I know these rappers ain't got money. But there are a lot of young and impressionable people out there watching them, thinking that's reality, but it ain't."

But just as quickly as he points out the shortcomings of the music and its "artists," he offers up his own resolution. With the release of his debut full-length, Reality Flow, the latest Attica Sound export has assembled a manifesto to bring reality back to the genre.

From the pep rally zeal of "Game Time" to the searing paranoia of "Them Peoples," Ishues molds an eclectic backdrop of hip-hop influences into one all-encompassing style that's unmistakably his own. Adding diversity to the recording is a slew of guest appearances from the Athens/Atlanta underground. Fixtures including D.R.E.S. tha Beatnik, Tea Bag da Herbalist, Kauzmoz and several others bring their own elements to the mix.

"I'm just a small part of it," adds Ishues. "There are a lot of talented people on top of what I wrote and they're the ones who keep it real."

Ishues plays the Echo Lounge Thurs., Feb. 5. $8.