North Carolina ain't been the same since Little Brother came through and crushed the buildings! Truth be told, North Carolina had nary a presence within the hip-hop game before Little Brother burst onto the scene in 2003 to show off its soulful interpretation of what hip-hop music should sound like. Since then, L.B. producer 9th Wonder has produced for the likes of Jay-Z, Memphis Bleek, Masta Ace, Jean Grae, and a host of other hip-hop artists.
Enter North Carolina-raised emcee Kevin Hill (a.k.a. K-Hill) and another "wonder," producer Nick tha 1da, on "Da Instigator," lead single from N.C. Internet label Neblina Records and their compilation, "Definition." Invigorated by a Gangstarr-like Nick tha 1da production, K-Hill shreds through the beat with a blue-collar underground jam, calling out those mainstreamers and "106 and Park prototypes" ruining the good name of hip-hop.
While K-Hill is nothing spectacular or mind-blowing through both sound and flow, the remarkably Premier-esque production from Nick tha 1da, complete with scratches and a hard-hitting beat, carries the single and allows K-Hill to keep it moving throughout the track.
The feel-good Chapter 13 track, "The Rebirth," and Medinah General's "Dreams" also offer stand-out performances from the underground. "The Rebirth" provides a soothing, soulful voiceover in the background that allows the beat to melt into the lyrics. "Dreams" explains the "nighttime vision" of a robbery scenario that is overshadowed by a DJ Resident scratched-up chorus that will be music to the ears of hip-hop old-timers.
"Da Instigator" (12") may only be a preview into what Neblina Records and "Definition." will offer, but from what it presented, it is safe to assume that North Carolina sounds as if it should be located somewhere next to New York far, far from the crunked-up South and the sound that it avoids at all costs through its hip-hop.