Burlington hip-hop duo/production company GTD (that's Growth Till Death or Get That Doe, depending on their mood) are primed to become major players on the Green Mountain rap scene. Composed of MCs Burnt and Network, GTD is about to release Burnt Underground Radio, which features more than 20 head-nodding cuts. Guests include Dan Mansion, Ramiz, Scroll and Tekst - all movers on the urban music underground.
Sorting through the track list is daunting, but the music is rock solid. Razor sharp rhymes, creative production and a fiercely independent spirit exist in equal measure on this, another fine Vermont rap record.
The majority of the tracks find Burnt behind the mike, with mix assistance from the Loyalists' Touchphonics. Following an intro featuring record scratching and repeated declarations of identity, the disc kicks off with the profanity-littered "Nobody's Listenin'." "Half man, half alien, staring off into oblivion / Nobody's listenin'," Burnt rhymes with barely-tempered fury.
"Enlightenment" is built on off-kilter snare drops and a bed of hazy samples. Burnt's flow is more subdued here, but that doesn't mean it's easygoing. "Been through too much shit / On these roads that I'm goin' / Will it ever change, or am I goin' down?" he asks bluntly.
The shuddering bounce of "Special B" provides a great launch pad for Burnt's confessions of angst and ambition. "All of my life I hoped to be more than just an MC / More than just a writer and an annoying little B," he rhymes in the track's opening stanza. Another line is particularly telling: "You could be sure whenever I enjoyed myself I was told to shut the fuck up / And sometimes I did / Sometimes I had to," he raps. But Burnt also displays a hard-won positivism; he seems willing to embrace his future, whatever it may be.
"Serve Chilled" is a sultry cut boasting slick guitar licks and a crusty, old-school beat. The raps are all over the place, moving from the scatological to the ecumenical within a single verse.
Although every track on the album has something to recommend it, there's almost too much to digest. In addition, it's difficult to tell if the disc meant to be a single artistic statement, or more of an overview. Its creators have termed the release a "winter mixtape," and I guess that's as good a description as any.
No matter what you call it, Burnt Underground Radio is further evidence of the strength of the local hip-hop scene. A release party takes place on Thursday, February 8 at Club Metronome, at which free copies of the disc will be given to attendees. Not a bad way to spread the love.