It is hard to believe that as the entertainment capital of America, Las Vegas has never had a Hip Hop act call Sin City its home. That was until emcee Verbal E and producer 3Sixty came knocking. Known collectively as The Chapter, the duo was discovered by ?uestlove of the legendary Roots Crew while he was putting together Okayplayer's debut compilation album True Notes Vol. 1. The Chapter became one of two unsigned groups to be selected for the album, as ?uestlove was immediately blown away with their material. Now with their debut album Us Vs. Them, The Chapter is ready to show the rest of the world what Hip Hop music is really about.
The Chapter draws comparisons to Little Brother for their depictions of the everyday struggles, and The Roots for their use of live instrumentation. However, the duo is able to carve their own niche and stand on their own with Us Vs. Them. With their substance over style approach, the duo covers a variety of topics and issues throughout the album. On "Life In The City", Verbal E depicts the everyday drama faced from living in the city. "Life in the city ain't that pretty y'all, because na, I don't live on the strip, and yeah we got real bloods and crips". On "I Do Despise", Verbal E proclaims his disgust for "niggas", while producer 3Sixty amazes with his sparkling Pete Rock like keys and drums. With "One Moment" The Chapter delves into the power and significance of one moment and how it can change your life. While the concept seems simple, Verbal E pulls it off nicely.
Without any notable missteps, Us Vs. Them is an album that succeeds due to its substance and honesty. Imagine if Black Thought hooked up with 9th Wonder for an entire album. That is what you can expect from The Chapter's debut album. And if that isn't enough to convince you to check it out, then I don't know what will.