Deep Thinkers

I'm not sure why, but when the term progressive is slapped in front of a musical genre, the resulting phrase is instantly rendered trite and meaningless. Some bands, though, push so hard against the envelope that they effectively embody forward motion, building momentum from nothing more than a unique creative spark. Example: Kansas City's Deep Thinkers. The duo of MC Brother of Moses and DJ/producer Leonard D. Stroy jack into some kind of alt hip-hop matrix, channeling the intellectual power of positive rap through a head-spinning filter of jazzy drum 'n' bass, glitch, and polyglot world fusion. Stroy's production is flawless, melding wicked turntablism with the fluttering future beats of Roni Size and Amon Tobin. His two instrumental suites ("Slideshow" and "Kiss the Sky") are full-on brilliant in their stylistic breadth and wicked execution. Brother of Moses takes on the politics of style issued by social critics like Mr. Lif but butters it with a laid-back Midwestern delivery à la Cleveland's Five Deez. A more aggressive rapper might stand out better against Stroy's hummingbird breaks, but in the end, Moses makes more noise by speaking softly. Together, these two birth a serious debut and put the stigma of progressive to rest.

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