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The Shinin'

On this six-song EP, The Shinin' presents a taste of very L.A.-style new school ala Styles Of Beyond, Dilated Peoples, and Aceyalone. The sound is classic without being clichéd or derivative, with a very back-to-basics approach. The vocals are deceptively simple: lyrical content is obviously favored over style of delivery. There are no stupid cartoon voices or guttural gymnastics, just a few rappers with things to say, riding the beats on the rhythm. These days, so many hip hop producers, DJs, and lyricists are trying to "push the limits" and "tweak" the art form that they end up doing things that are just lame, or too much of a stretch to work. It is almost perversely fresh and original when artists like this make hip hop that sounds like... hip hop.

The two masterminds behind The Shinin' are DJs Take One and None. Their story began about four years ago, when Tom Wilson (aka DJ Take One) moved to Olympia, Washington to attend school at Evergreen State College. Unsatisfied with the availability of underground hip hop in his new home, he formed a close phone relationship with Jamie Carrillo (DJ None), who was the buyer for Street Sounds, one of L.A.'s premier underground hip hop record stores. Carrillo would call and play Wilson the latest West Coast hip hop, and Wilson would then mail order the records. The two soon realized that great minds think alike, and they decided to collaborate on some tracks for mix tapes whenever Wilson was in L.A.

Meanwhile, the Northwest was finally coming into its own on the hip hop front, thanks in part to none other than Sir Mix-A-Lot. Wilson began spinning in and around Olympia, under the name of DJ Take One. In 1998, he went on to record the Emergency Breaks 12-inch on K, featuring a track by DJ None.

The Director's Cut EP (K/Drunk Decibel Records) was recorded at four different studios in Washington and California and showcases some of the finest MCs working in the Los Angeles and Seattle/Tacoma underground hip hop scenes, including Dr. OOP, PM, Universal, J-Thorn, and Tacoma's Bedroom Productionz of the Black Anger/DU4SELF crew. The track "Who Knows?" features Seattle's Samson S. and producer Vitamin D. To quote the EP's opening sample, "Some shine, some don't." By keeping it real and doing it right, The Shinin' definitely do.

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