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Standard Issue – Blurred Vision

Standard Issue, a group comprised of MC T1-O (the one & Only) and DJ Silent Ben, hail from the colorful Colorado plains and a little place called Grand Junction. There they’ve honed their skills and used the environment as influence in creating their debut album, Blurred Vision.

The CD, produced and written entirely by T1-O, is a unique first album that was four years in the making. It also comes with a complimentary DVD that lets you see the places the group has been traveling as they’ve built their following, and also has a video for the song “SI Rebels”; a track that appears twice on the album—as the opening song and an edited remix.


What can readily be said of the group is that they put a lot of effort into this album, from the cover art and packaging to the top notch recording. From top to bottom their package is clean. As they’ve toured with such road warriors as Colorado’s own Black Pegasus, The Shapeshifters, 2Mex, Hangar 18, and others, it’s obvious they’ve learned what it takes to promote product.

What can’t be said is that they rank in the same class as their contemporaries. The music of Vision, though recorded and mixed well, has a dated feel. T1-O admits that he’s been heavily influenced by 80’s hip-hop, and it shows, though with less pop. The tunes are big on drums and sparse on other varied instruments, including bass and keys.

The most lush composition is “Untitled Love Song,” and it brings to mind something else about the record. Though not stated, it seems the guys were also heavily influenced by Rhymesayers—and Atmosphere, specifically. As T1-O writes “I love you because I hate/ I hate you because I love you,” in a quasi-love song, the flow and cadence are too obviously reminiscent of Slug. Though there are worse places to draw influence from, to be sure—Atmosphere is a well respected and very popular group, SI just isn’t them. The lyrics here are not nearly as clever, sometimes bordering on elementary. And the music is nowhere near as tight as Ant’s. The songs “Rain Buckets” and “SHE” follow suit. The title track is mostly pleasant, while “The Reef” is a total throwaway.

If you’ve ever heard an Undox mix tape (a series that Silent Ben has released) then you know these guys have potential. This album is another step in the right direction, it’s just not nearly as satisfying as a “four year process” ought to be. This one is for the fans and those keeping tabs on the growing Colorado hip hop market.


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