“The best thing to come out of Kentucky since Colonel Sanders drumsticks.” (altrap.net)
That’s what has been said of the foursome known collectively as Code Red. Their debut album, All Aboard, is at once a homage to what has become known as “the golden era of rap”—strong, explosive percussion; party-oriented rhymes—and a nod to more progressive music like that of the Nappy Roots and the under-rated (they said it themselves in their bio) Black Eyed Peas.
The songs “For My People,” “Elbow Room,” and “Atomic” are just what they profess: frenetic, gutsy, and ready for the club, Southern style, without being engulfed by the cliché of Crunk music. When these guys say they’re ready to get the party started, they’re not just whistling Dixie, they’re asking you to let your hair down, take it to the edge, and break some shit.
This train ride is not just one-sided, however, as reflection time comes over into a well established and perfect Curtis Mayfield ridden sample for the song “All Aboard,” and an equally well produced “Brother Louis,” a song that updates the 1973 hit of the same name about interracial couples. Here, vocalist Demi Demaree, seems to have channeled the deep, sincerity and molasses drawl of Anthony Hamilton. And then, when you thought it could get no better, the group hits you with “Give Me A Reason.” Many people have made comments on the current state of war affairs, but two of these guys are actual vets and their words linger. Thought it was all Uncle Sam and apple pie? They give you an opportunity to question that sentiment without guilt.
Another track, “Summer Jam,” does what it is supposed to do—offer up feelings of carefree summer days, however, the choice of El DeBarge’s “I Like It” as the background just doesn’t play as well as other samples pilfered from the crates.
But that’s just a small flaw in an otherwise stellar outing. As debut releases go, this one will be hard to beat. So grab your dancing shoes and thinking caps, leave the boundaries at home and enjoy the ride.