A film about Northwest hip-hop from 1994
Brothers Of The Same Mind were a Seattle rap group in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They got “Unsigned Hype” status in the October 1990 Source magazine, then put out a seven-song masterpiece in 1991. After the group broke up, the two rappers, Class and Sin-Q, each did solo cassette projects. First, the smoother, bohemian MC Class put out Brother From The Projects in 1993, then the rougher, more hardcore rapper Sin-Q dropped Deathflow in 1994. The two releases couldn’t be more different.
Sin-Q’s gruff voice drops to such a low octave on Deathflow that it feels “chopped and screwed” like the playback speed is dragging. When you add the fact that his delivery is sometimes subdued and quiet, it almost sounds like he is muttering his inner thoughts to himself, rather than presenting rap lyrics. The effect for me is like having Neuralink access directly into Sin-Q’s brain, where the content is very explicit and uncensored.
The police sirens at the start of opener “Seward Park” set an ominous tone for the rest of the Deathflow tape. I like “Yeah Mutha F**** Yeah” for the bounce in the beat, and the swooping interplay of the horns. Sin-Q talks about relationships with women in “Menace 2 The Hoes.” “Tell you like this I got my girl, my hoes, both suck ****, but only one do my clothes,” is typical of the track’s boastful tone. “Peelin Back” features a reminder to avoid sporting red or blue clothes in gang territory, among other topics. “So I see you gots to watch what you wear, in the wrong neighborhood you get smoked for your gear.” However, in my opinion the overly simple looped beat doesn’t allow “Peelin Back” to expand to its fullest potential.
Side B starts with the excellent “Float On,” a reflective track about how friendships change over time, and sometimes you just have to part ways with someone for whatever reasons. “Ill Funk Freaker” has a fun, jazzy hip-hop sound, a stylistic departure from the creeping, dissonant production prevalent throughout Deathflow. Sin-Q describes how hard it is to survive working low wage jobs in “P’s & Q’s.” “Doing all this goddamn work for seven and a quarter,” he says with disgust. The last track “Changes” contains philosophical musings about society, in Sin-Q’s words, “Something’s gotta change, for better or for worse.”
An exciting second chapter recently began for Brothers Of The Same Mind, as they reunited in 2021 and have since put out two albums. Gotta Have Style is a much fuller version of the 1991 project, and Franklin Highfield III Present The International Lover is a whole album of new material recorded in the 2020s. I can’t wait to see where they take it next. Written by Novocaine132