Progressive Movement: A Step Forward (self-released)

Anti-Crew 

Progressive Movement: A Step Forward (self-released)

As its title suggests, Anti-Crew's Progressive Movement is an eloquently left-leaning effort. MC Flare Tha Rebel assassinates presidential policies, takes aim at gun violence and sideswipes idiots who fear public transportation. However, A Step Forward modestly underestimates the mammoth-stomp impact of this expertly produced debut disc. Flare and his beat creator and occasional lyrical cohort DJ Eternal play with grunge-style soft-loud dynamics during their choruses and experiment with everything from bouncy, bass-anchored club jams to tense piano-and-kick-drum backdrops. Anti-Crew even scores with its hidden track, a hilariously accurate crunk parody built on the shout-along hook of its title, "Stick Your Ass Out the Window." A compelling storyteller, Flare excels at creating "Waterfalls"-style cautionary scenarios. He's not as cuddly as some conscious rappers -- he spits expletives with prickly passion -- but the edge serves the songs well. On one cut, the duo chants, Potential ain't shit unless you do something with it. Anti-Crew has converted its promise into an essential album.

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