Record Review - Brown Bag AllStars: The Brown Tape

Brown Bag AllStars aren’t so much a supergroup as a collective of hip-hop supergeeks who work at Manhattan record store Fat Beats. Fortunately their talents as MCs and producers are as great as their passion for record collecting, which makes their debut project, The Brown Tape, 10 tons of fun. A digital reissue of their first mixtape (which they sold in the shop last year), the work’s golden-era influence is obvious through its generous use of cuts, scratches, samples and relentlessly goofy punch lines. “I’m Soul Khan/You know me/I only drink breast milk and Old E,” raps Soul Khan on “Get Up,” an album highlight along with “The City Never Sleeps” and “Undeniable (Audible Doctor Remix).” Mostly devoid of politics, whining about the industry, or current hip-hop production gimmicks, The Brown Tape is a throwback rap album of the best kind — the kind that doesn’t take itself too seriously. (Coalmine Records) 4 stars out of 5