Remember Girl Talk? When mashup artist Gregg Gillis burst onto the scene in the mid-2000s, first, everyone had to look up the word “mashup.” Then, everyone was like, wait a tic– is this shit legal? Then, after that, there was lawsuit talk, and legal ownership drama, etcetera etcetera. And that was pretty much the last time anybody heard the word “mashup.”
Until The Hood Internet. That’s why I was skeptical about the duo, whom I had never heard up until a few days ago; but their new album, FEAT, pleasantly surprised me, to say the least. Instead of what I expected– which was, I dunno, something like “Call Me Maybe” combined with the latest electro-pop jam du jour– I was gifted a surprisingly sophisticated album that is a true combination of the latest and greatest hip-hop, indie rock, and pop.
On FEAT, The Hood Internet’s ABX and STV SLV (awesomely pronounced ‘Steve Sleeve’) are joined by several guest stars that represent the best of their respective genres. Familiar friends include Class Actress, The Rosebuds, Zambri, and Cadence Weapon. This is new territory for the duo, because no, these aren’t mashup-style samples, but completely original songs. Instead, The Hood Internet are relying on layered sounds, carefully crafted beats, and an eclectic mix of interesting vocalists.
Mashups are fun, if they’re done right; and now, after having familiarized myself with The Hood Internet, I can tell you that they are most certainly doing them right. But by leaving them THEM on FEAT, the duo rises to a new level, and proves that they are capable of more than putting together a great party. Opener “Critical Captions” features the easily-identifiable voice of Class Actress singer Elizabeth Harper, which soars over a magical synth beat before Canadian rapper Cadence Weapon drops in. Other standouts include the anthemic “Do You Give Up Now?” and the bubbly, infectious “One for the Record Books” featuring AC Newman of the New Pornagraphers.
New York Magazine recently placed The Hood Internet on the “Lowbrow/Brilliant” section of their Approval Matrix, and I’m now definitely inclined to agree. FEAT is a collection of intelligent party jams that will please even the most diverse mix of friends: from your snobbiest music elitist to your agreeable radio listener. Democratically appealing, yet undeniably awesome.
3.5 / 5 bars