I like Toronto hip hop trio The 20/20 Project and their debut EP Employees of the Year for a few reasons. The main being that after seeing the title of the EP, and then noticing the title of the first track was Back to Work, I thought to myself, if that song doesn’t sample So Wat’cha Sayin I’ll be incredibly disappointed. As it turns out, I had no need to worry as within seconds of the EP’s start, Erick Sermon’s opening salvo from the aforementioned EPMD classic is scratched into the track.

 

Certainly a promising start, but you might be wondering what else caught my eye about this group and their EP? Well, their in-house producer/DJ goes by the name DJ Unknown, which brings to mind The Unknown DJ, an early West coast production pioneer who did work on Compton’s Most Wanted’s first record, and anything that makes me think of CMW’s first record gets a second look.

 

But it’s not all loose associations that are winning me over where The 20/20 Project is concerned. DJ Unknown (who, despite his name, has made a name for himself previously producing for TO’s Tru-Paz) laces his MC’s with some classic production: rugged, 90′s sounding drums, vinyl static, plenty of golden age vocal samples scratched in for good measure. The EP certainly has a sound that anyone who came up in the 80′s and 90′s (or has a fondness for that period) can appreciate. MC’s D-Squared and Idrees are certainly no slouches either. Both come with an aggressive, battle ready style, but they both show the ability to get clever and lyrical on a song like Explain This.

 

Something else to enjoy about 20/20? Their EP is currently a free download on their Bandcamp site, so if you’re in the hunt for some rather well-done, throwback hip hop, I’d check these guys out.

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MP3:: The 20/20 Project - Back To Work
BANDCAMP:: the2020project.bandcamp.com/