Educated Consumers, Kokayi

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Editorial Review

Album review: "Winning Winter"
By David Malitz
Friday, Feb. 3, 2012

If consistency is a virtue, then Educated Consumers is among the area's most virtuous groups. The local duo has been mining classic hip-hop for more than a decade, staying far away from the genre's predominant sound of the moment. It's an approach that has resulted in a relatively low profile, even as Washington starts to gain a national reputation on the hip-hop scene. New album "Winning Winter," the group's fifth, might not change that, but it's another fine example of the Consumers' effortless throwback sound.

Lyricist Seez Mics and producer Jay Bombbeat have landed on a formula that deserves not to be tinkered with. Mics is a confident (but not arrogant) rapper with a quick, easy flow, and he finds the right balance between insights and punch lines. The title track recounts the region's intense snowstorms of a few winters ago ("And snow fell on the D.C. metropolis / In some other cities this wouldn't be big news / But where I live it felt like an apocalypse") over jazzy beats - it's relatable and relaxing without being cheesy.

Bombbeat mostly favors sleek, sample-based beats that don't bowl the listener over with monster synths but have plenty of retro charm. The bass drop on standout track "She's Educating" and horn blasts on "There's No Irony . . ." are particular highlights from a band that has stayed in its groove for a while.