A potluck is a quickly prepared meal to be shared with an unexpected guest. But, a Potluck is a group of two emcees – one African-American and one Jewish – who are similarly thrown together to provide a more than adequate hip-hop entrée fit for an unsuspecting and hungry underground audience.
Following their debut album, “Humboldt County High,” – which the duo brags “sold more in Humboldt, California than Britney Spears!” – the weed-smoking odd couple pair for “Harvest Time,” a triumphant exodus by Potluck into the psyche of surprisingly capable hip-hop music. The large black man 1 Ton and the skinny Jewish white boy UnderRated not only abandon and break all stereotypes of what they should be – they actually transcend hip-hop and present themselves as two average Joes caught up in the whirlwind of a love for hip-hop music, which will be right up the alley of hip-hop fans stuffed with the false love of other rappers.
“Harvest Time,” though it may appear like it on the surface, is not all about that good Cali chronic, as despite their many creative odes to the green stuff (“Inhale/Exhale,” “Smokin’ on a Blunt,” and “First Kiss,” most notably), the pair burn through a multitude of other topics that make them seem so average and simple, and yet, so missing from the current soundscape of hip-hop. 1 Ton and UnderRated will remind listeners of the kids in high school that started a band and played at the after-party of their prom – except Potluck is nothing to laugh at, with the skills to rightfully take a seat in the VIP section afterwards.
“Just Like U,” an anthem about relating to their audience, and “Budget,” the tales of the broke bachelor life, are just two of the many examples where Potluck speaks with the audience, not to them. The “we love hip-hop” odes of “Hip Hop” and “Rap Life” similarly show the boys hitting the microphone with a vengeance and spewing out their struggles of making it within a career that they love but rarely receive love back from.
Bay Area legend E-40 stops by for “You Ain’t That Fine,” where everyone takes their best shot at telling off the teeth-sucking, attitude-enhanced females, but the duo don’t forget to show their love to their significant other (or their significant “bother” in UnderRated’s case) on the beautifully produced “Lovin’ U.” One song about a soulmate later, and 1 Ton and UnderRated have already proven that their brutal truth and honesty can carry them a long way without having to resort to using hip-hop clichés and cheap surprises or shock value to gain attention.
Though 1 Ton is more than able to hold his own, the clear stand-out of “Harvest Time” is UnderRated, whose vocal tone and ability to hold a flow over a multitude of beats should be dually noted. He also commands the production of all but one track (“You Ain’t That Fine”) and does so with a fluidity that makes even the unappealing weed anthems tolerable.
What do you get when you combine a large black rapper, a white Jewish rapper, a batch of above-average beats, and an ounce of weed? Sounds like a bad joke, until you realize that the only joke is the one Potluck plays on its listeners. This “potluck” is one that you might want to hold onto and keep away from the prying ears of your guests.