Yung Clova and ST 2 Lettaz of G-Side showed off its winning formula at DC9 on Sunday night. (Photos by Kyle Gustafson/FTWP)

G-Side has jumped from the unlikely launch pad of Huntsville, Ala. to critical acclaim, if not wide awareness. A subdued but appreciative D.C . audience got a solid dose of substance that may outlive the mild hype, since the group was refining its sonic formula long before bloggers took notice.

The G-Side formula starts with tradition. ST 2 Lettaz and Yung Clova are a duo in the classic and currently endangered sense: two rappers with pleasingly complimentary styles. That lineage extends from Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith of EPMD to the duos that paved the way for G-Side: Big Boi and Andre 3000 of OutKast, as well as Bun B and Pimp C of UGK. Yung Clova’s flow is declarative and blunt while ST 2 Lettaz is dense and frenzied.

The chemistry is seamless and allows them to convincingly cover material that goes from ’hood to aspirational, id driven to introspective. The new south is lyrical as well as trill and while contemporaries like Big K.R.I.T. get more attention for achieving that, G-Side’s got it down. “No Radio” was a great example, as the chorus sounds like a tear-up-the-club fight song, Clova delivered a trap rap verse then ST contrasted with a swiftly cadenced a capella about life struggles. Performing on the anniversary of the UGK rapper’s death, G-Side dedicated that tune to Pimp C.

WASHINGTON, DC - December 4th, 2011 - Rapper ST 2 Lettaz, one half of the duo G-Side, performs at DC9 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post)