Various Artists The Dollar Hip-Hop Show

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Too $hort may have put Oakland rap on the map, but there's another side of the city's hip-hop that's more about stoned Sunday night ciphers and smoky, jazz-tinged boom-bap than 808 bass blasts and big pimpin'. The Greans Crew, Azeem, EyeCue and more lay it down thusly for the backpackin' Bay Area contingent on The Dollar Hip-Hop Show, which features moody, at times psychedelic, production from local stars Jah Yzer, The Architect and Fanatic. Like many underground rappers, this crew is at times too verbose, trying to cram dozens of metaphors into each sentence without letting the beats breathe. But tracks like Azeem's "Thirsty" and posse cut "Us Against the Industry" strike the right balance between conscious rhymes and gritty street beats.