The latest salvo from the burgeoning Tucson hip-hop community is this impressive debut by Savant, one half of the hip-hop alliance Rarebreed. Born Gregory Daggett, Savant originally hails from Chicago and made his way to Tucson via El Paso. Working with a variety of producers and several guest artists, he has crafted a savvy, literate and completely satisfying EP that bobs and weaves, floats on waves of energy and muscular momentum and doesn't sacrifice hardness when he waxes sentimental.
Each track on this eight-song EP proves Savant's got an assertive, limber voice, but he ups the ante with a machine-gun flow and slightly absurdist boasts on "Concrete Techniques": "I must confess that I put the pep in your step with so much finesse, this shit is dirtier than elephant breath." In fact, he fires off rhymes so quickly, repeat listens are necessary to catch every bon mot—or you can listen to the alternate, slower version on the hidden ninth track.
All the tunes are personal, but perhaps the most intimate is the closer, "Perfect Profession," in which the MC recounts his parents' feelings about his hip-hop career. Although his Baptist minister dad never approved, Savant quotes his mom as saying his becoming a rapper always was a foregone conclusion. "When it comes to talking, you ain't never been modest ... still running your mouth, except your vocab's better."