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Gunplay & Isaiah Toothtaker: Frownin 

Essentially, Frownin is a one-song cassette single that includes a downloadable EP of remixes. Redundant? No. "Remix" in hip-hop music is typically a completely different song with the same title. While the lyrics are the same in this case, the remixes are changed radically enough from the original song enough to constitute a different piece of music.

So, the original "Frownin" (called "The Briefcase OG Version" here) is excellent and gritty. Both Gunplay and Toothtaker strike a balance between paranoid gangsta visions and ironic humor. The production on this mix is exotic and weird enough to be a remix, with Eastern percussion and drones and whistling synths.

The remainder of the EP, 11 versions in total, are all spectacular. Again, in this case a remix is a complete reimagining of the song, so from the minimal 808 beat and general tone of discomfort in "Blue Sky Black Death" to N8 Noface's self-named electro meltdown, this could be viewed as 12 different tracks, or 12 movements in one long nefarious symphony.

The closing "Free the Robots Remix" brings it all back home in the way only Toothtaker can: disintegrating technology drunk and/or high, tripping over itself on the way out of the club, raising lumbering garbage to high art.

More by Joshua Levine

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