With the Fundamentals and Trump Dawgs.

Scratch Track 

Thursday, June 2, at the Brick.

The logo for acoustic hip-hop act Scratch Track is a beat-up old van -- an apt signifier for an unsigned bunch of former college roommates who have spent the past few months literally living out of the back of one, taking a lengthy, low-rent tour of the country in support of a new album with nothing but a couple of acoustic guitars in tow. It sounds like the formula for sheer granola, yet Scratch Track is anything but. Unreleased Tracks 2004, the group's latest record, has guitarist Jason Hamlin laying down guitar-slapping funk and deep Southern-blues jams while vocalist Will Gray and native KC boy DJ Lee rhyme positive, message-driven lyrics. The album brings out what's best about the trio -- an energetic, organic, hopeful brand of hip-hop, free of overproduced beats and bling-and-bitches yearning. The group shines on tracks such as "Wake Up," on which DJ Lee busts out his considerable beat-boxing skills and the group wholeheartedly embraces the block-rockin,' yes-yes-y'all school of rap. Other tracks have lead vocalist Gray playing it smooth and soulful, leaning on Hamlin's funk hooks with solid R&B vocals.

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