“Strange Journey Volume One” CunninLynguists album review by Peter Cho

"Strange Journey Volume One" CunninLynguists

When looking for albums to review for this week, I was torn between Flo Rida and CunninLynguists. Just kidding, if I hear “Right Round” by Flo Rida one more time I’m going to be googling “bridges in San Diego.”

Anyways, CunninLynguists are a Southern hip hop group consisting of rappers Deacon the Villain, Natti and Kno. Veritable vets of the underground hip hop game, they’ve shared the stage with artists as varied as People Under the Stairs to Kanye West to The Strokes.

With a general disregard for the word “genre,” CunninLynguists have gained acclaim by sampling from a wide variety of genres while also maintaining a wit not seen commonly in the genre. With lyrics covering topics ranging from Google Earth to marijuana, CunninLynguists have a sound that just feels good, that has been described by some as “too white for BET, too black for MTV2.”

Though they are underground, their production is anything but. Members of the CunninLynguists have produced for artists such as KRS-One, Ruff Ryders, Devin the Dude, D-12 and Immortal Technique, among others. The production and overall style are similar to the artist Rhymefest, a Chicago-based rapper who has also done work with Kanye West. There are also similarities to Atmosphere in the lyrical style.

Though “Strange Journey Volume One” only contains two new songs, with the rest being remixes and a single live track, it still manages to be a good example of recycling (like recycled paper that isn’t dirty looking). The tracks, even the remixes, manage to be fresh and play in with the album. Rather than a compilation or a mixtape, the album manages to have an original vibe.

The first single, “Never Come Down (The Brownie Song),” was released in February and can be found on their MySpace, myspace.com/cunninlynguists. Standout tracks include “Hypnotized” and “Don’t Leave,” the latter track featuring Slug of Atmosphere.

If you haven’t heard of CunninLynguists before this review, I wouldn’t recommend using this album as your first exposure to the group. If you’re interested in checking them out, take a look at or pick up “Dirty Aces,” which they released in 2007 to critical acclaim. For long-time fans, Strange Journey Volume One is definitely worth picking up, regardless of the “mixtape-ish” nature of the album.

Seriously though, how can anyone stand that “Right Round” song? Only Adam Sandler can sing that song.