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Masterminds are members of the new school of conscious hip hop founded by the likes of Common, Mos Def, and A Tribe Called Quest. After meeting at Wesleyan University in '94, Oracle (rhymes), Kimani (beats and rhymes), and Epod (beats) released a number of critically acclaimed twelves before dropping their '00 debut long-player, Underground Railroad, on Ground Control/Nu Gruv Alliance. Featuring guest MCs El-P, J-Live, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Mr. Lif, L-Fudge, Mr. Complex, J-Treds, and Mr. Khaliyl (formerly of Da Bush Babees), Underground Railroad is a rhythmically and lyrically accomplished album that deals with emotions, culture, and racism in a mature way. The fiery "Bring It Back" (featuring Mr. Khaliyl) and the mournful "Memories" both feature on their impressive debut full-length.

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