Independent hip-hop is a mixed bag of tricks. One the one hand, you have the emcees who use the creative freedom of the underground to work on music that would almost never come out of a mainstream label. On the same hand, you have fools who failed to blow up and now drop sub-standard battle rhymes dissing "commercial" MCs and basically anyone who makes money from hip-hop (which they tend to believe is theirs and only theirs). Not that being proud of your underground status is wrong, but as Sole once said "If you're so creative talk about something other than yourself."
But how does this relate to Indie Pennant record's 'Double Helix'? Well, at first listen, tracks like 'Fools Gold' would make you consider dropping the two of them in with the second category of, for want of a better word, haters. But, despite their pot shots at weak mainstream MCs, 'DNA-lysis' is creative and original enough to put Spontaneous and JON?DOE in with the acts that fill up the first pigeonhole. Sure, at their core the duo are "just" smart battle MCs, but 'DNA-lysis' shows that "even" battle MCs can bring new styles to the mic.
But to be honest, Double Helix aren't only battle MCs. 'Some of All Parts' is nice idea for a track, where most lines start with the prefix "some" (somehow, somewhere, someone, sometimes; one word for each verse). It's a nice idea, and the two MCs get fairly introspective ("Somewhere it all began, reality set into motion / Somewhere the predecessors of man crawled from out of the ocean / Somewhere humans relentlessly rose to world supremacy / Somewhere we're gonna lose it all and it's probably gonna end with me").
This dope track is hardly the end of the dopeness though. The two best tracks are 'Riddle of The Sphinx' and 'Titanic,' both narrative tales where both MCs take the role of one man. 'Riddle of The Sphinx' is the story of a man's life, which is a brilliant, thought provoking track. 'Titanic' mixes the works of James Cameron and Common Sense into a tale of an indie MC on the ship of hip-hop trying to lure H.E.R. down to the lower levels of the ship. Although you've heard the story before, you can't front on the masterful execution.
Like I said at the beginning though, JON and Spon are battle MCs and sure as hell don't ignore this on 'DNA-lysis.' The sample of Chino XL isn't far off the mark on 'Slo to Toledo,' which is an excellent introduction to the men from Southern California and Toledo, Ohio. '2 of The Illest' also lives up to its title, and other nice battle tracks on 'DNA-lysis' include 'Allido,' 'Parallelogram' and the posse cut with Kashal-Tee and Sankofa, 'Lazarus Syndrome.' Some of the beats aren't too great on these, but the lyrics can carry the tracks.
With 'DNA-lysis,' Double Helix firmly establish themselves as creative underground emcees. Although there is an abundance of battle rhymes, they are all dope and create a nice backdrop for the more intelligent lyricism found on the tracks most of the review focused on. Throw an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and find out where you can pick up 'DNA-lysis,' and get to jocking Double Helix before all of your friends do.