Score: 4.25 out of 5 Grackles

Third Root — “Passion of the Poets”


Third Root — “Passion of the Poets”

Record Label: Self-released

Release Date: June 19, 2020

Photo by Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUTX

Two standout local projects, bonded by shared players and a celebration of uplifting, old school hip-hop and R&B. The latest full-length album from Third Root follows the pattern of 2016’s Libertad, packaging in new material with previously released singles, while roping in guests like Bavu Blakes, Black Pumas and Kam Franklin. The sonics, by way of DJ Chicken George and producer Adrian Quesada, are enveloping but never overpowering. For Third Root’s emcees, Charles ‘Easy Lee’ Peters and Marco ‘Mex Step’ Cervantes, both educators, nothing stands in the way of their message. Released on Juneteenth in a summer of social upheaval, Third Root’s raps sometimes trip up their cadence, but there’s no denying their intent. Building up culture instead of tearing it down, hard grooves like the title track and “B.B.G.” (the Black and brown guard) move you in every way possible. Mex Step and Easy Lee, along with Quesada and Blakes also appear on Rise Up, a six-song EP for charity, each track featuring a varied lineup with one commonality, the drumming of the project’s curator, Michael Longoria. Longoria and keyboardist Jan Flemming collaborate with a range of lyricists/vocalists, including NOA, Daniel Aaron Fears, and Ange Kogutz. While most tracks lean towards a refreshing take on neo-soul, it’s the two hip-hop entries that command attention. Tee Double, Tray God and Bavu Blakes lock in on “Olvidalo”, while “Soulstice” finds Mex Step and Lee back in the Third Root hypno-groove. “Skin so brown/thoughts so black/rhymes so deep.”

Universal Seedz — Rise Up (Organized Cultura Records)
Purchase Rise Up HERE

Review by Jeff McCord